In a number of recent discussions, I’ve come across this mind set. The mind set is that the Holy Spirit shows up when things are spontaneous, impovised, and off-the-cuff. It’s sometimes left unsaid, though always implied, that when we prepare carefully for things, the Holy Spirit is some how less present in this activity.
I suppose the support they’d use for this belief revolves around examples like those in Acts, where some of the apostles are given God’s words to speak quite spontanously. I’m not disputing those biblical accounts. And I certainly agree that God is able to put quite spontanously, the right word in a brain at the right time.
But I do fear that sometimes “being open to the spirit” is really just a cover for being unprepared. I think it places God in a box, to suggest that he’s not present in the research and preperation stages.
God is in control of our brain chemistries. He’s in control of our research methods and resources. He’s in control of the seemingly random events that might trigger a train of thought that ends at the destination he’d like us to go. And some of these things, they are true whether God is exercising his will as a speaker prepares or when a speaker is actually speaking.However, while there may well be people who can instantly and consistently discern the whisperings of the holy spirit from their own knuckle-headed ideas, I am not one of them. Perhaps that gets easier with practice. But me? Where I’m at right now, I often need some time in prayerful meditation before I can decide what’s God and what’s me. Being carefully open to the spirit as I prepare gives me this time to carefully ensure I’m saying the things that God would have me say.