Shirer believes she is becoming a bridge between conservative and charismatic audiences as well. About eight years ago, God began to bring people into her life who “were led by the Spirit of God, heard the voice of God, expected the power of God, believed in miracles from God—those kinds of people who had a radical faith and were willing to take risks,” she says.
“It was so foreign to expect the Holy Spirit to be that bold ... to anticipate miracles in my everyday living, not just with the big things but with the little things,” she says. “These people opened my eyes to see what was available to me because the Spirit of God lives within me.”
During this season, Shirer went to speak at an event and was dismayed when she discovered that only about 50 women were present. But the event turned out to be life-changing—one of the most powerful spiritual encounters of her life.
“It was one of the first times I can recall actually feeling the presence of God in a tangible way,” she says. “It reminded me ... of what Isaiah may have been talking about in Isaiah 6 when he said, ‘The train of God’s glory filled the temple.’”
Shirer says God reminded her that day that He would rather be with 50 women who are serious about honoring His presence and going with the flow of what He wants to do than with 4,000 women who are worried about the program.
Shirer’s inner revival led to the official launch of her Dallas-based ministry, Going Beyond Ministries. The name comes from Deuteronomy 1:6-8, a passage that records Moses’ telling the Israelites, who had been camped just outside the Promised Land, that God wanted them to move on and possess the land He had promised to their forefathers.
Moses told them that they had been at Mount Sinai long enough and needed to “go beyond,” Shirer says. In her case, God was speaking to her about going to “the place of abundant living—an experiential relationship with God.”
“He said: ‘Priscilla, you’ve been at this mountain long enough. There is a new place that I want to take you to,’” Shirer says. In light of God’s challenge, Shirer naturally desired to “go beyond” personally. Her prayer, however, is that she will also inspire other women to anticipate more in their Christian journeys—to not only “know the uncompromising truths of Scripture intellectually” but also “experience them practically by the power of the Holy Spirit,” she writes on her Web site (goingbeyond.com).
“I believe God can do whatever He wants to do through whomever He wants to do it,” she says. “A lot of the demonstrative gifts of the Spirit aren’t used all the time in my church—almost never—so I could easily box God in and say because that is not my experience, God must not operate in that way.
“We need to accept that the body of Christ is full of other believers who have experienced God in equally relevant, equally reliable ways. Sometimes I’m amazed at how much we miss out on in terms of our relationship with God because we amputate another part of the body of Christ simply because that part is different than ours.”
Although Shirer embraces new experiences, she believes balance is critical. “We have a tendency as humans to lean toward extremes,” she says. “We’re either heavy on the truth of the Word and we lack the experience of the Spirit, or we’re heavy on the power of the Spirit and lack the foundation of the Word of God.
“There has to be a marriage between the two—God’s Spirit and His Word coming together to teach God’s people what life can be like when they are founded in God’s Word and yet fully anticipate the experience of that Word in their lives by the power of God.”
A Speaker Is Born
Shirer credits an aunt, Elizabeth Cannings, who has served as Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship’s director of children’s ministry since Shirer was a child, for recognizing her gifts and potential as a teacher. When Shirer was in the sixth grade, Cannings occasionally asked her to teach. “I enjoyed figuring out a fun way to share the Bible in a way the children would remember,” Shirer says.
Though she accepted Christ as her Savior in first grade, Shirer admits that she became very rebellious as a teen. “Whenever my parents said, ‘Don’t do that,’ I took it as a green light for me to go that direction. I was probably the one out of all my siblings who gave my parents the most worry and concern.”
During high school, Shirer prepared for a future in radio and television. She went to the University of Houston to study. She admits that she made numerous bad decisions during these years.
“No longer was I surrounded by the cozy comfort of my church home and Christian friends,” she says. “[But] I remember for the first time really beginning to hear the voice of God and feeling that stirring conviction—and knowing it was God Himself.”
In Houston, she had an internship at a Christian radio station and began to receive invitations to speak at Bible studies and emcee events. She found herself enjoying these assignments so much that she wasn’t sure what to do after she graduated from college.
Wisely, she sought her dad’s advice. Evans asked her which vocation she would focus on if she weren’t getting paid to do the job. Shirer immediately responded, “Teaching.”
“She was loving teaching the Bible, and she was loving communicating—so I said, ‘Why don’t you go deeper so that you can go further?’” Evans says. He directed her to his alma mater, Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), where he earned his doctorate.
Shirer’s experience at DTS was rich and life-changing. She earned her master’s degree in biblical studies there in 1999.
Sue Edwards, assistant professor of Christian Education at DTS, notes that God has “graced Priscilla with all the ability to bring the Bible alive in the minds and hearts of countless women of all ages, stages and races.”