One of the greatest tragedies in the Church is the confusion we have about the Holy Spirit. Even among groups that emphasize the Holy Spirit and His role in the Church, we see different beliefs, expressions, and practices, many of which are contradictory.
The Bible shows the mishandling of holy things brings serious consequences. How much more severe is it when we have the Holy Spirit of God living inside us?
While some limit praying in the Spirit to praying only God’s written word, others say that praying in the Spirit is only praying with other tongues. Still, others reject praying with other tongues altogether. Our lack of agreement reveals our overall lack of understanding.
Effective spiritual warfare requires an understanding of praying in the Spirit, so let’s bring clarity to this from God’s word. We must first understand that praying in the Spirit is any prayer under the inspiration and direction of the Holy Spirit. Look at our instruction in Ephesians.
Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
Our instruction is that all prayer and supplication are to be done “in the Spirit.” The prayer of salvation, prayers of sanctification, prayers of dedication, prayers of intercession, prayers of repentance, the prayer of faith, prayers of thanksgiving, and yes, praying with other tongues. They are all to be prayed “in the Spirit.” Supplications are specific requests. They are also to be prayed in the Spirit. So, what does that look like?
Everything God does is relational. Many of us have allowed our prayer life to become mechanical and lifeless, not relational at all, just religious and dead. We run through a prayer list and read our daily devotional, never spending time in silent reverence so we can connect with the one we are talking to. Having a daily devotional is commendable. Having a daily devotional and never actually connecting intimately with your Father is tragic. Praying in the Spirit requires communion, not just conversation.
com·mun·ion – the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.
If all we do is pray from our limited thinking, our prayer life will lack the authority to bear much fruit. I am not saying that praying with our natural understanding is wrong, but let this be a launching point, a positioning of the heart and mind to a place of stillness and quiet so we can be receptive to the influence of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians makes it clear that we need both.
1 Corinthians 14:15 (NKJV)What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.
Quoted from the book, The Spiritual Warfare Manifesto
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