Praying in the Holy Spirit

Praying in the Holy Spirit

Last week, we heard the call to pray. Whether or not God brings revival or Jesus returns soon, our duty is to pray for ourselves, each other, for our country, and for unbelievers. We are in a spiritual battle. Therefore, it is imperative that we learn to pray in the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 6:12 & 18 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms…And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Jude 17-20 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit

Praying in the Holy Spirit means praying in the power given to us by God. If we are going to do battle against demonic spirits for the salvation of men’s souls, we must realize this power in the matter of prayer. We may not sense the power; nevertheless, it is there and we need to exercise it by faith.

Because we cannot see the spirit realm, we have to pray relying upon what has been revealed by the Holy Spirit, and the first revelation is that we do not know how to pray.

Romans 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

The one who prays in the Holy Spirit is humble and confident in the Father, like a child. When we pray in the Holy Spirit, we bring to God the things that come quite naturally to our minds, and the Holy Spirit interprets our prayer so God is able to answer the prayer according to His will.

The Holy Spirit prays in us prayers which we cannot utter. When we are born again of God and are indwelt by the Spirit of God, He expresses for us the things for which we have no words to express.

Charles Spurgeon said, “I must pour out my heart in the language which His Spirit gives me; and more than that, I must trust in the Spirit to speak the unutterable groanings of my spirit, when my lips cannot actually express all the emotions of my heart.”

We can sense the need, but we don’t know what words to say. Nevertheless, we respond to the urge to pray by going to the Father in the Name of Jesus Christ. We begin praising Him and thanking Him, waiting for God to show us what or whom to pray for. We pray, even without words, until the Holy Spirit releases us.

Bill Gothard adds, “Sometimes a person prays with his tears, even when words are missing.”

Matt. 6:7-8 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 

Then why ask, we may wonder? The whole meaning of prayer is that we may know God. The “asking and receiving” prayer is elementary, it is the part of prayer we can understand, but it is not necessarily praying in the Holy Spirit. Those who are not born again must ask and receive; but when we have received the Holy Spirit and are rightly related to God, prayer is not an exercise, it is our life, our relationship with Almighty God. Prayer is communication; therefore, part of praying in the Holy Spirit is listening to the Holy Spirit speak to us.

The idea of praying in the Holy Spirit is not to get answers from God; prayer is perfect and complete oneness with God. If we pray because we want answers, we will get annoyed with God. The answers come every time, but not always in the way we expect, and our annoyance shows a refusal to identify ourselves with Jesus in prayer. We are not here to prove God answers prayer; we are here to be living testimonies of God’s grace and to do His will by walking in the Spirit.

When prayer seems to be “unanswered”, beware of trying to place blame on someone else or on God. That is always a snare of Satan. You will find there is a reason for the “unanswered” prayer, which is a deep instruction to you, and not to anyone else.

A great many people do not pray because they do not feel any sense of need. The sign that the Holy Spirit is in us is that we realize—not that we are full—but that we are empty. There is a sense of absolute need and an urgency to pray. We come across people who try us, circumstances that are difficult, conditions that are perplexing, and all these things awaken a sense of need, which is a sign that the Holy Spirit is there. A sense of need is one of the greatest blessings, because it keeps our life dependent upon Jesus.

When we learn to pray in the Holy Spirit, we find there are some things for which we cannot pray. Sometimes there is a sense of restraint—like God is saying “Leave it alone, or You don’t need that, or Trust me”. Never push and say, “I know it is God’s will and I am going to keep praying for it.” Remember what happened to the children of Israel.

Psalm 106:12-15 Then they believed his promises and sang his praise. But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel. In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wasteland they put God to the test. So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them.

Let the Spirit of God teach you what He desires and learn not to grieve Him. Let Him lead in every area of your life, including your prayers. If we are abiding in Jesus Christ, we shall ask what He wants us to ask, whether we are conscious of doing so or not.

When we pray relying on the Holy Spirit, He will always bring us back to this one point, that we are heard by God only on the ground of the Atonement of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 10:19-23 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

The Holy Spirit will continually remind us that the only ground of our approach to God is “by the blood of Jesus,” and by no other way. There is power in the Blood of Jesus Christ. There is no power in our righteousness. The only righteousness we have comes from the atoning work of Jesus Christ.

As the Holy Spirit interprets the meaning of the atoning work of Christ to us, we shall never rely on our own earnestness, or on our sense of need, nor shall we ever have the idea that God does not answer. We shall be so restfully certain that He always does, because God recognizes the atoning work of Christ in our lives and listens to the Holy Spirit in us and answers His prayers.

When we pray in the Holy Spirit, we begin to have a more intimate conception of God and a sense of His resources. For instance, we may be called by God to a definite purpose for our life. We know that it means a decision, a reckless abandonment to God, a burning of our bridges behind us; and there is no one to advise us when we take that step, except the Holy Spirit. At that time, we are faced with a struggle. We have one foot on God’s side and one on the side of human reasoning. We have to take a leap, a reckless leap, and if we have learned to rely on the Holy Spirit, it will be a reckless leap onto God’s side.

So many of us limit our praying because we are not reckless in our confidence in God. In the eyes of those who do not know God, it is madness to trust Him; but when we pray in the Holy Spirit, we begin to realize the resources of God, that He is our loving heavenly Father, and that we are His children. This gives us confidence in God; therefore, it makes perfect sense to trust God when He abides in us and we abide in Him.

If we are praying in the Holy Spirit and following Him, He will “charge the atmosphere” round us. Mercifully, we will never be aware of this; otherwise, we would be too self-conscious. The moment we are self-conscious, we stop being Christ-conscious, and the glory is gone. Others may sense this “charged atmosphere” (There is “something about him or her”.). Demons will definitely be aware of it, and those influenced by them will hate you. But our focus is on praying in the Holy Spirit and being led by Him. It makes no difference what your work is or what your circumstances are; if you are praying in the Holy Spirit, He will produce an atmosphere round you, and what you do will reflect the glory of God.

When we are praying in the Holy Spirit, we will not look at flesh and blood causes. Instead, we will meet every arrangement during the day in the power of the Holy Spirit. Too many of us succumb to flesh and blood circumstances—“I did not sleep well”; or, “I have indigestion”; or, “I did not do quite the right thing there.” Never allow any of these things to be the reason why you are not prevailing in prayer. Here is God’s will for us:

1 Thes 5:16-18 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 

A popular term used today is "What would Jesus do." He would pray about everything. Jesus prayed at His baptism, He prayed before the choosing of the twelve, before He fed the crowds, before He asked the twelve for their confession of faith, before raising Lazarus from the dead, at His Transfiguration, at Gethsemane, and on the Cross. The disciples knew that He often prayed alone.

If Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, depended on prayer during His days on this earth, then why should it seem out of place for us to pray continually?

Praying in the Holy Spirit involves knowing that God has personal control of everything in our lives, everything in all the earth, and over all creatures. Christians who believe these truths and are filled with the Holy Spirit have no problem connecting with God in prayer throughout their entire day.

Praying in the Holy Spirit ought to be a persistent habit of each one of us. Keep the child-like practice of continually praying to your Father in Heaven. Rely on the Holy Spirit all the time. The groans of the Holy Spirit or the impulsive prayer that sounds so weak and futile is the thing God always heeds. The Holy Spirit will intercede and interpret.

The way we react during the day will either hinder or help our praying in the Holy Spirit. If we allow a reaction not born of the Holy Spirit; in other words, if we allow a sinful reaction, we shall have to repent to restore our relationship with God before we can pray in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is there all the time and He will bring conviction, but we can lose sight of Him by allowing things that have not sprung from our intimate relationship to Jesus Christ. Anything, even our religious life, that keeps us from praying in the Holy Spirit, can be a hindrance.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Do we realize that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? If so, we must be careful that we keep it undefiled for Him.

Jesus said in Matt 21:13 "It is written," he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.' " 

The Holy Spirit uses the body of the believer as a temple in which to offer His intercession. Just like Jesus Christ cleansed the temple in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit will cleanse our body. The Holy Spirit will not allow us to use our body for our own convenience without bringing conviction and correction to cleanse us. He will look after the unconscious part of our soul that we know nothing of, but we must see that we guard the conscious part for which we are responsible.

Have you reached such an intimacy with God that the Lord Jesus Christ’s life of prayer is the only explanation of your life of prayer? We may not be there yet, but we need to become aware of the Holy Spirit and listen to Him so He can get us there. He will lead us in prayer and in everything we do and say.

Before that can occur, we must repent of our self-led practices and sinful ways. We must decrease and our love for God must increase, so Jesus Christ is seen instead of ourselves. Die to self and ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Then you will have grace and power to pray in the Holy Spirit. We may not know what to say, our prayers may sound too simple, but they will have the power of the Holy Spirit praying them. Then we will be able to demolish demonic strongholds through prayer, and we will see people released to believe the Gospel and they will have grace to repent and be saved.

Each one of us is here because someone prayed for us to be saved. If you are feeling conviction now about your sin and need for salvation, we encourage you to yield to the Holy Spirit and repent of your sin and believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior. Give your life to Him through baptism and He will give you a new life born of the Holy Spirit.