Prayer and The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity – The GodHead. God is revealed as Father, Son & Holy Spirit.

Jesus said “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.  Matt 28:19

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14

Fellowship = [Koinonia] which means 7 things: presence, sharing, company enjoyed, co-worker, intimacy, confidentiality, comradeship.

This is the relationship which God wants us to have with the Holy Spirit – It is to our disadvantage when we neglect or take the Holy Spirit for granted particularly in our prayer lives.

1.Who is & what is the role of the Holy Spirit?

In our prayer lives it is important to understand the role of the Holy Spirit and I believe the importance of being baptised in the Holy Spirit and praying in the Spirit.

a)The Holy Spirit is our Helper/Comforter.

John 14:16 “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter (Parakletos), that he may abide with you forever; “

The Holy Spirit is the friend who is always at your side to help you particularly in times of intercession and prayer.

b) The Holy Spirit is our Teacher.

John 14:26 ”But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Do you think you have a bad memory? – pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you and remind you of scripture so that you can recall the word of God when needed in prayer.

c)  The Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin.

John 16:8” When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:”

d)  The Holy Spirit guides us into the truth & prophecy

John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

e)  The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus & brings revelation of Jesus

John 16:14 “He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.”

John 15:26 “When the Counsellor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me”.

Ephesians 1:17 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”

f) The Holy Spirit helps us to overcome temptation

Galatians 5:16 “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want”.

g) The Holy Spirit produces fruit in us to be more like Jesus

Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control”

h) The Holy Spirit blesses us with the gifts of the Spirit

A spiritual gift is a special attribute/ability given by the Holy Spirit to every Christian according to God’s grace. The scriptures tell us the various spiritual gifts which God has for the believers in Christ. 1 Corinthians Ch 12, Ephesians Ch 4, Romans Ch 12.

The gifts include: prophecy, service to others, teaching, encouragement, giving, leadership, mercy, wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, discernment, tongues, interpretation of tongues, apostle, evangelist, pastor

The gifts are for every believer in Christ. The scriptures tell us that every Christian has received at least one gift and can have more than one gift.   The gifts are given “to each one individually as He wills” So, if you are a Christian – be confident – the word says you have a spiritual gift so believe that you have one and find it. 1 Peter Ch 4 v 10. It is God’s intention that every Christian should find and exercise their gift. They are not earned, or rewards, you don’t have to be a Christian for so many years etc. before you get one – They are given by God’s grace to those who desire them with a pure heart.

1 Corinthians Ch 12 v 7 says “the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all” The gifts are given to edify others. They are for the glory of God and given so that as Christians we can mature and grow closer in our walk with God.   They should not be confused with natural talents and abilities. They are not given to us so that we can get proud or puffed up – to gloat or to be jealous of anyone’s gift. We must exercise the gifts with pure motives and with love. Paul clearly says this in 1 Corinthians Ch 13 when he talks of love.   The gifts are functional – They are there to equip God’s church.

It is such a help and a blessing to use the spiritual gifts in our private prayer time and when we pray for others – to give words of knowledge, encouragement & prophecy.

I find it helpful to use these scriptural truths about the Holy Spirit and his role to help me in times of prayer: e.g. If am praying for someone who is not saved then I can ask the Holy Spirit to bring conviction of sin, the need for salvation because of judgement and revelation of Jesus as being the only way to be reconciled to God.

If  I am,  or someone I know is struggling with temptation,  then I can pray and ask the Holy Spirit to draw alongside them to help them overcome temptation and for the fruit of self control to be produced in their lives.

If someone is grieving or in pain then for the Holy Spirit to draw alongside them to bring comfort at such times.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth and leads us into all truth.  In times such as these when we can be led into error or deceived by false teachings, may we ask that the Holy Spirit leads us into truth and not error and keeps our feet on the right path.Prayer – Is God hearing my prayers?

 

 

 

 

Prayer – Our authority in Christ

I believe that our authority as Christians only comes from Christ and our position in Christ through his death on the Cross and resurrection. When you become a Christian you are given authority in Christ.   You don’t have to be a Christian for x years to earn authority – it is a legal thing settled in the spiritual realm.  You become adopted children of God, raised up with Christ to sit in heavenly places and given an inheritance in Christ the minute you accept Christ as your saviour. Authority is not a feeling – it is a legal right – settled in the heavenly realms.

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” Ephesians 1 v 6-7

It is all about what Jesus achieved on the cross for us.

As a Christian you already have authority in prayer and the biggest breakthrough will be achieved in prayer when we understand and act on our authority and position in Christ. I think as Christians that too many times we ask God to do things for us when He has already given us the authority to implement His rule and reign on earth and we just need to exercise that authority in faith in prayer.

Settle it in your spirit and say to yourself “I have been given authority in Christ” Keep saying it in faith. God wants you to exercise the authority which you have in prayer which Christ has given to you.

Jesus said -Mark 16:17 “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

Luke 10 19-“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

This scripture doesn’t mean rush off and start taking on massive demonic strongholds or go looking for demons to cast out– that would be presumptuous and dangerous. You need to make sure before you take on satanic forces directly that satan has no legal foothold in you, that you are not moving out from the covering of God’s grace, that you are prepared.  In my experience, you should only go into battles which God leads you into but:

It does mean that when the Holy Spirit reveals attacks from the enemy or the presence of the enemy we can confidently “submit to God, resist the devil and He will flee from you”  James 4:7

We only have authority because of Christ’s finished work at the cross when he took back authority from Satan.

I am sure that you have seen this example before as it is used in many Christian teachings on authority but it is good at getting the point across in a way that we can understand.

1.In Genesis Ch 1 v 26 & 28 God creates man, gives man free will and gives him DOMINION over the earth. i.e. the right and the responsibility of ruling and exercising authority over creation.   The right to subdue the earth under him. God GAVE that authority and dominion to man. God’s intention was to work with and through us to oversee His creation.

Imagine the scene – God hands over keys (representing authority) and sceptre (representing rule) on earth to man.

2.  Satan who has already been thrown out of heaven for rebellion sees that man has  been given dominion over the earth and deceives Eve into disobeying God.   She then induces Adam to disobey God. In disobeying God,  man (Adam) gives away the authority and rule that he had over the earth to Satan. Satan then legally had a position and the rule over this world and the keys to death & hell as sin brought curses and death. Jesus called him the “prince of this world” John 12:31

Imagine the scene – Adam hands keys to satan.

3. God has already put in place the plan of redemption – Hallelujah. Gen 3:16 he says to satan “And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers, he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel”. This is fulfilled when Jesus the son of God becomes man and dies on the cross to pay the ransom for sin and obtain redemption for us. Jesus said of satan before he went to the cross “ the prince of this world now stands condemned.” John 16:11

Imagine the scene – Jesus leaves the glory of heaven and his position and comes to earth.

4. Satan comes to tempt Jesus in the wilderness and offers him the kingdoms of the world and their glory. He said “All these things I will give you if you will fall down and worship me”.  Satan is able to offer Jesus earthly power because Adam had given it to him.   As the prince of the world he has a position which he can offer Christ.   You’ll notice in scripture that Jesus didn’t rebuke satan for lying.

Imagine the scene – satan offers Jesus conditional rulership – strings attached – but Jesus declines.  This was to ensure that when Jesus went to the Cross he was the spotless lamb of God.

“for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me” John 14:13 i.e. satan had nothing on Christ. He had refused all temptation. “ but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.”   Hebrews 4:15

5. At the Cross Jesus defeated satan just when satan thought he had won. Satan didn’t kill Jesus, Jesus gave up his life for us. Colossians 2: 15 says “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. i.e. He stripped satan of authority at the cross and he took the keys back from satan of hell and death (Revelation 1:18)

Imagine the scene -Jesus takes back from satan the keys and the rulership

6. Jesus didn’t keep that authority for himself.  Hallelujah.  He put it into the hands of his church – us- so that we can in prayer and by the Word of God in daily life enforce the rule and reign of Christ over satan on this earth until He comes back. The inheritance we have in Christ is the Authority and Power (of the Holy Spirit) given to us when Jesus died and rose from the dead. Satan’s power over us has now been broken by Christ’s blood – we no longer fear death.

1 John 3:8 says “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil”.

Romans 5:17 “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ”.

Imagine the scene – Jesus puts the keys and rulership into the hands of the Christian – Amen.

There are things to remember with such authority. We do not rule by our own will but by God’s revealed will.   Rulership is also not over people – We don’t control people or seek to control them through prayer – that is manipulation and control which is clearly a sin. This authority and rulership is to be exercised over the works of the enemy. The bible is clear that we do not fight flesh and blood but evil forces.

Before the Cross satan’s name had an effect and meant something in the spirit realm. When Christ died on the cross he made a public spectacle of satan. When God raised Jesus up and gave him a name above all names – satan’s name in the spiritual realm was DEMOTED. The name satan means the opponent, the hater, the accuser, adversary, enemy, one who resists, obstructs and hinders whatever is good.   He is the hateful enemy opposed to everything of God.

When you come under attack from satan or evil/unclean spirits, as you surely will as a Christian, rebuke them in the name of Jesus, remind them of the blood of Christ and Christ’s victory at the cross.

Revelation 12:11 says that “they overcame him (satan) by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death”.

The battle is not between satan and God – that is no contest.   God is Omnipotent (all-powerful) satan is not. God is Omniscient (all-knowing) satan is not.   God is Omnipresent (everywhere) satan is not -he can only be in one place at a time.

The present battle is between us (the Church of Christ who satan hates) assisted by God’s angels against satan and his demonic spirits.

Christ gave us the victory at the Cross but it is only Christ’s church at the moment who can through prayer be used of God to bring His kingdom rule and reign to the earth. We know that satan still has influence in this world because he continues to influence the behaviour of people and this is shown clearly in the Word. Christ has not yet come back to rule and reign over the earth and until he does it is our job as Christians to keep praying –Matthew 6:10 May your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Le us pray for humility, to have the mind of Christ & an obedient heart. 

Philippians 2: 5-16  “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labour for nothing. 17

May we continue to develop JESUS’ Character –

He was humble – “But made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant”

He was selfless – “poured out his life an offering for all”

He was obedient – “and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross”. He said to His father “not my will but yours be done”

He was forgiving – “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.

He was compassionate – “When He saw the crowds his heart moved with compassion”

 Let us pray for more revelation of Jesus, His victory on the cross & the power of His blood.

 An extract from the book: Nothing but the blood

We overcome satan when we testify personally to what the Word of God says the blood of Jesus does for us (Rev 12:11)

Through the blood of Jesus, I am redeemed out of the hand of the devil (Ephesians 1:7)

Through the blood of Jesus, all my sins are forgiven (1 John 1:9)

Through the blood of Jesus, I am continually being cleansed from all sin (1 John 1:17)

Through the blood of Jesus, I am justified, made righteous, just-as-if-I’d never sinned (Rom 5:9)

Through the blood of Jesus, I am sanctified, made holy, set apart to God (Heb 13:12)

Through the blood of Jesus, I have boldness to enter into the presence of God (Heb 10:19)

The blood of Jesus cries out continually to God in heaven on my behalf”   (Heb 12:24)Prayer – Is God hearing my prayers?

 

 

 

Prayer – Let’s be inspired

We are in a season where God is calling His people to pray and intercede being inspired and empowered by His Holy Spirit.    I am going to post a series of notes which I used some years ago when leading some prayer workshops.  The aim was to encourage believers to pray and help them develop prayer as a lifestyle.  It was also to provide some practical help to people who struggled to pray so that they would be encouraged to start to develop their own prayer life.  You can use the notes on your own or in a group.    I hope they will inspire you to pray for others and yourself.   It’s not about praying by rote or praying long, complicated prayers but about relationship with your Heavenly Father and bringing all things to Him through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Encouragement to Pray:

MEN OUGHT ALWAYS TO PRAY, AND NOT TO FAINT – LUKE 18:1

AND WHEN HE HAD TAKEN THE BOOK, THE FOUR BEASTS AND FOUR AND TWENTY ELDERS FELL DOWN BEFORE THE LAMB, HAVING EVERY ONE OF THEM HARPS, GOLDEN VIALS FULL OF ODOURS WHICH ARE THE PRAYERS OF SAINTS…..AND ANOTHER ANGEL CAME AND STOOD AT THE ALTAR, HAVING A GOLDEN CENSER; AND THERE WAS GIVEN UNTO HIM MUCH INCENSE, THAT HE SHOULD OFFER IT WITH THE PRAYERS OF ALL SAINTS UPON THE GOLDEN ALTAR WHICH WAS BEFORE THE THRONE. AND THE SMOKE OF THE INCENSE, WHICH CAME WITH THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS, ASCENDED UP BEFORE GOD OUT OF THE ANGEL’S HAND –REVELATION 5:8 8:3-4

“TRUE PRAYER MUST BE AFLAME. CHRISTIAN LIFE AND CHARACTER NEED TO BE ON FIRE. LACK OF SPIRITUAL HEAT CREATES MORE INFIDELITY THAN LACK OF FAITH – E M BOUNDS”

“THIS IS THE SECRET LIFE OF PRAYER. TAKE TIME IN THE INNER CHAMBER TO BOW DOWN AND WORSHIP; AND WAIT ON HIM TILL HE UNVEILS HIMSELF AND TAKES POSSESSION OF YOU, AND GOES OUT WITH YOU TO SHOW HOW A MAN MAY LIVE AND WALK IN ABIDING FELLOWSHIP WITH AN UNSEEN LORD” –ANDREW MURRAY

NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT TO GOD THAN PRAYER IN DEALING WITH MANKIND. BUT IS IT LIKEWISE ALL IMPORTANT TO MAN TO PRAY. FAILURE TO PRAY IS FAILURE ALONG THE WHOLE LINE OF LIFE. IT IS FAILURE OF DUTY, SERVICE AND SPIRITUAL PROGRESS. GOD MUST HELP MAN BY PRAYER. HE WHO DOES NOT PRAY, THEREFORE ROBS HIMSELF OF GOD’S HELP AND PLACES GOD WHERE HE CANNOT HELP MAN.” E M BOUNDS