Prayer is so essential to experiencing the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The account of the beginning of the church is found in first two chapters of the book of Acts. The Holy Spirit is promised in the first book where Luke tells of the last words Jesus had for the apostles prior to ascending into heaven:
1In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
In the second chapter, we find the apostles and other followers in prayer in an upper room. The promised presence of the Holy Spirit is fulfilled.
1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
And so begins "the rest of the story". God's revelation to us comes in three stages, through the three persons of the Holy Trinity.
First was God, the father, working in the hearts and souls of people in a time and place that was difficult...very difficult. Most of God's commands and laws were rigid and uncompromising. It was as it needed to be for such a culture.
Second, was our savior, Jesus Christ. He fulfilled the law and brought ease to the rigidity of the Father's commands. He took all the commandments and created the one commandment that embraced all the intent of the law by saying: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' ; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus showed us how by His example.
Third, is the Holy Spirit, who Jesus promised would come to the Apostles. It is the Holy Spirit who takes the laws of The Father plus the fulfillment of the law through Jesus Christ, and becomes the very presence of God after the crucifixion and resurrection of The Son.
The Father gave us The Son, so that The Son could give us the Holy Spirit. How can we receive the Holy Spirit? Look to Jesus. Between the Gospel accounts of the miracles and healings Jesus would withdraw to quiet places to pray:
Luke: 5: 15-16
However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. 16 So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.
For us to experience God's presence through the Holy Spirit, we must pray. More than a prayer in the morning, a prayer at noon and a prayer at night. We must pray. Pray without ceasing, sometimes more intently, but pray without ceasing. The more we seek God's presence, the more His presence is in us. The Holy Spirit came to the apostles and the other believers when they were in prayer in an upper room. And It comes to us in our prayer, in our upper rooms.