Is it scriptural?
Ephesians 6:18 “praying always with all prayers and supplications in the Spirit being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints”
Jude 7:20 “But you beloved building yourselves up on your most holy faith praying in the Holy Spirit
1.What is praying “in the Spirit”?
I believe that we pray in the Spirit when:
a) We allow our prayers to be inspired and directed by the Holy Spirit within us i.e. we are willing to submit our agenda to God and let the Holy Spirit lead us. This is not stepping aside and abdicating responsibility in our prayer lives but being willing to be obedient to how the Holy Spirit wants to lead us and direct our prayers. It is working together with the Holy Spirit – our spirit and the Holy Spirit in communion.
b) using the gifts of the Holy Spirit; i.e. speaking/singing in tongues, interpretation of tongues, words of wisdom, knowledge, discernment etc.
BUT as the apostle Paul taught us we should always seek to pray with our understanding too so that we can interpret what the Holy Spirit is directing within us. i.e. we have revelation of the will of God as we pray.
1 Corinthians 14:13 “For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind”.
c) Speaking in Tongues
Tongues is a spiritual language which is not learned but is inspired by the Holy Spirit within us – it can be a heavenly language or an earthly language previously unknown to the speaker.
Acts 2:4 “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them”.
I believe that Tongues is one of the gifts of the Spirit which can be a springboard to other gifts of the Spirit being released through us.
Paul spoke often of the gift of tongues and its proper use but he did not forbid the use of tongues.
1Corinthians 14:39 “Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way”.
Speaking in Tongues will help you by building you up spiritually, inspiring your worship & praise of God.
1 Corinthians 14:4 “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself”
Acts 2:11 “we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”
Interpretation of Tongues – When you pray in tongues ask the Holy Spirit to give you the interpretation of what you are praying. This is not a word for word literal interpretation but a sense of what the Holy Spirit is saying and directing within you. When a public tongue is given it is my experience that the Holy Spirit gives you the first couple of words of the interpretation – you then have to step out in faith believing that you have received the gift of interpretation and allow the Holy Spirit to work through you to bring the whole interpretation. I can only describe it when I have exercised the gift of interpretation as an “unction” in your belly which wells up and has to be released.
2. Why should we pray in the Spirit
a) The Holy Spirit directs our prayers and reveals the will of God
Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 “ Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is because He makes intercession for the Saints according to the will of God”
According to this Scripture -When we pray the Holy Spirit prays with us and makes our prayers effective because our prayers are then according to the will of God. This is why in prayer we should learn to:
WAIT ON GOD AND BE PATIENT TO ALLOW THE HOLY SPIRIT TO DIRECT OUR PRAYERS. WE SHOULD NEVER PRESUME THAT WE KNOW EXACTLY HOW TO PRAY ABOUT A SPECIFIC SITUATION.
Psalm 62:5 “My soul wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him”.
b) The Holy Spirit gives spiritual wisdom and revelation:
1CO 2:10. “The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. v 14 “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned”
i.e. the Holy Spirit brings revelation to our spirit man – Spirit communes with spirit. The Holy Spirit within us reveals things to our spirit man/woman.
You may have heard people ask God in prayer to give them “spiritual keys” to situations. God reveals the things which are hidden particularly, in the spiritual realm so that we can then pray directly into the situation using the keys which the Holy Spirit reveals.
c) How does the Holy Spirit bring revelation to us?
The Holy Spirit may bring revelation to you in dreams, pictures, visions, impressions on your spirit, scripture verses which are brought to mind, the still small voice of God speaking to us, tongues & interpretations, prophetic words etc.
There are many ways in which the Holy Spirit speaks and many examples are given in scripture of dreams, visions, prophetic words.
d) The Holy Spirit also gives power to our prayers – particularly in spiritual warfare and when we fast and pray.
Jesus said: “But you will receive power (dunamis) when the Holy Spirit comes on you” Acts 1:88
We need to pray to be continually filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus received the Holy Spirit when he was baptized by John the Baptist. The Holy Spirit came upon Him like a dove. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where He fasted and prayed for 40 days then scripture says that Jesus: “returned in the power of the Spirit and his fame went out abroad” Luke 14:4
We receive and are sealed with the Holy Spirit when we become Christians but I believe we are to seek and receive the full baptism of the Holy Spirit as the early believers did in Acts.
c)How do we start to pray in the Spirit?
i) We need to receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit needs to be welcomed and received. Jesus says “Ask & you will receive”. Ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit can be received “by the laying on of hands” Acts 8:17 “and when Paul had laid hands on them the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke with tongues and prophesied” Acts 19:6.
Or there are instances in scripture of the Holy Spirit falling upon people as they waited and sought God. e.g. the early church waiting for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the upper room and later in Acts 11:15 Paul witnessed to the following “And as I began to speak the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning”.
ii) Actively seek and pursue the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Ask God for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be released through you:
1 Corinthians 14:1 “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy”.
It is important to seek the spiritual gifts for the right reasons. They are given to build up the church. God is more interested in you developing your character (follow the way of love) first and foremost.
iii) Test everything:
People often ask how they know it is the Holy Spirit bringing revelation and working in them. If the word testifies of and brings glory to Christ then it is of God.
1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God”
1Co 14:29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.
1Th 5:19 Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good.
In my experience praying in the Spirit will always:
GLORIFY THE FATHER THROUGH THE SON (John 14:13)
BE ACCORDING TO GOD’S WILL (John 5 14:15)
BE BASED UPON GOD’S CHARACTER, WAYS & WORD (John 15:7)
The excitement of submitting to the Holy Spirit is that the Holy Spirit may lead you into crying, fasting, silence before God, prophetic actions, clapping, marching, shouting etc. as you express yourself in prayer. The Holy Spirit is creative – never underestimate the work of the Holy Spirit. Don’t quench the Spirit but allow the Holy Spirit to lead you. Amen Prayer and The Holy Spirit