Praying in the Spirit

Morning all, today’s prayer post is about praying in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit.

It is biblical to pray in the Spirit and we are encouraged as believers to pray in the Spirit.

 Ephesians 6:18 says “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”

What is praying “in the Spirit”?

We pray in the Spirit when:

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 in our prayers to God the Father.

We use the gifts of the Holy Spirit in prayer; i.e. speaking or singing in tongues, interpretation of tongues, words of wisdom, knowledge, discernment etc. these giftings of the Holy Spirit help us to pray effectively.

BUT as the Apostle Paul taught us, when we pray in tongues, 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“.

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“.

Paul spoke often of the gift of tongues and its proper use. The gift is to be exercised in an orderly way as the Spirit leads. The Holy Spirit does not operate in confusion or in a disorderly way. It is not right or proper if a believer abuses the gift of tongues and causes upset nor is it right or beneficial for believers to set themselves against or forbid this precious gift.

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 refreshing you spiritually, inspiring your prayers, 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 so you understand what it is you are asking the Lord for or God is revealing about a situation. I don’t receive a literal word for word interpretation but a sense of what the Holy Spirit is saying and directing within me when I pray.

When a public tongue is given it is my experience in exercising the gift of interpretation, that the Holy Spirit gives me the first couple of words or a picture first and overall impression of the interpretation – I then have to step out in faith and allow the Holy Spirit to express through me the interpretation for those present. I can only describe it when I have exercised the gift of interpretation as an “unction” inside which wells up and has to be released.

Why should we pray in the Spirit

The Holy Spirit directs our prayers and reveals the will of God. If we don’t know how to pray about a situation then the Holy Spirit shows us. Some situations seem overwhelming to us but this is where we can have confidence that the Holy Spirit will show us how and what to pray.

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 Bible verse-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 not presume immediately that we know how to pray about a specific situation.

Psalm 62:5 “My soul wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him”.

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/woman within us. We humans are flesh, soul and spirit. Spirit communes with spirit. The Holy Spirit within us reveals things to our spirit man/woman as we pray. Praying in the Spirit.

You may have heard people ask God in prayer to give them “keys” to situations so that breakthrough will come. 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 through the gifts of knowledge, discernment or wisdom.

How does the Holy Spirit bring revelation to us?

The Holy Spirit can bring revelation to us in dreams, pictures, visions, impressions on your spirit,  scripture verses which are brought to mind, the still small voice of God speaking to us which we hear in our spirit, tongues & interpretations, prophetic words. We have mentioned already the gifts of words of knowledge, wisdom and discernment.

So there are many ways in which the Holy Spirit speaks and many examples are given in scripture of the Holy Spirit working in dreams, visions, prophetic words.

The Holy Spirit also gives power to us and our prayers – particularly in spiritual matters/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 should seek 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 then 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.

Starting to pray in the Spirit

Acknowledge, welcome and receive the Holy Spirit. 

Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit and pour out His Holy Spirit upon you.

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.

There are also examples 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. Peter witnessed to the following “And as I began to speak the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning”.

Actively seek and pursue the gifts of the Holy Spirit and for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to be released through you for the benefit of others.

 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 and becoming more like Jesus than your spiritual gifts. Don’t fall in the trap of thinking one person is more spiritual because they exercise giftings. We are vessels only of the Holy Spirit. It is the fruit of the Spirit which is key and which shows our maturity in Christ Jesus.

 Test everything:

People often ask how they know it is the Holy Spirit bringing revelation and working in themIf the word or revelation testifies of and brings glory to Christ then it is of God. It must line up with Scripture.

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:




Dear friends, don’t let fear or previous experiences hold you back. Please don’t quench the Spirit but allow the Holy Spirit to fill you and lead you as you pray. 




10 responses to “Praying in the Spirit”

  1. Ooh, what a great post.

    I’ve seen that same thing you describe when someone interprets a word spoken in tongues. It’s like a low pressure build up that gently, but powerfully, spills up and out of the person when they let themselves be used that way. They always said it was a clear choice to share, or not. Yet, they couldn’t NOT share it.

    It was beautiful to watch.

    I’m filled with the Holy Spirit, but don’t classically have the gift of tongues.

    On my gap year I was placed in a Pentecostal church. I was told I could not be filled with the holy spirit, unless I spoke in tongues. When I’d first led a time of worship people told me they’d been forced to change their minds; I got a few apologies that evening – I’d started to doubt my faith because they were so hostile, until I’d led worship for them: they decided there was no way I could lead worship as I did, without being filled with the Holy Spirit.

    One last thing, I remember praying one time, and that it that it was once stated I prayed extemporaneously.

    I had to look it up!

    Turns out that that is a fancy way, so my vicar said, of praying in the Spirit.

    I’ve spoken in tongues a few times, however this is always very specific – it is always against the demonic. Perhaps 4 or 5 times in my 37 years walking with Jesus.

    Jo speaks in tongues loads, and I love it. When I’ve been ill she spoke it over me, and it comforted my soul in a way that is difficult to verbalise.

    Fabulous post – well written!

    Andy B

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I have had that same experience Andy of a specific tongue spoken out when demonic activity is revealed. One of the most beautiful things is singing in tongues over someone. The Lord has led me to do that on a number of occasions and it’s so humbling. You have this overwhelming love of God that pours out and it’s beautiful. We are blessed by such gifts in the body of Christ.


  2. When the Holy Spirit prays through me in an unknown tongue, I generally know the subject for whom I am praying but I do not ask for an interpretation. I feel that is one reason I pray in an unknown language. I do not know enough to pray specifically for the needs of another. The Holy Spirit does. For instance, if I have a grandchild who is stealing and I don’t know it, the Holy Spirit can pray about that issue without my knowing. The gift of discernment could be at play if I need to know the issue. Great discussion. I am only adding a bit to explain how I feel he works in me. I am not disagreeing or wanting to be argumentive in any way. About the scripture that says to pray for the interpretation seems to be very important in a public setting. I have little experience that way. Thanks for dealing with this subject.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a lovely informative and encouraging post Nicola. There was a time when I was active in Spiritual gifts, particularly tongues in praise and prayer. I was in a fellowship of likeminded people at that time which was a huge blessing in my life. But that all stopped when I came back north. There is a part of me that misses it and those I fellowshipped with then. God bless you sister.


  4. the Holy Spirit spoke to me several weeks ago and said” praying in the spirit produces the fruit of the spirit “
    i almost said “ you sure about that?” as i’ve never heard that before, but it’s in the word!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Being and remaining in the good tree will produce good fruit. I can see that yes. Praying in the Spirit, being led by the Spirit will change us and we will be fruitful for God’s kingdom. Thank you for reading and commenting. Blessings to you.


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