“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law… Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires… If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16-19, 24-25).
Not an option!
To walk in the Spirit is to work in partnership with Him and to do what He says and allow him to control every area of our daily lives. Paul writing to the Ephesians said; “Be filled (controlled completely) with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) In the Greek text it is a command to be obeyed and also a continuous experience. Literally it could be rendered like this; “Be ye being continuously filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit.” It is not an option to take or leave. If we are not filled with the Holy Spirit them our spiritual life will be hindered, we will find our old nature starting to dominate our mind, our emotions and especially our will. We will also have no power or confidence in witnessing and we will not be a good testimony to the unsaved when they observe our conduct.
In our last two studies we discovered six things related to our walk in (or with) the Holy Spirit. 1. Recognize we have two natures that fighting with each other. 2. Understand the difference between the law of gravity and the law of lift. 3. Recon on the fact that we still have the old nature to deal with. 4. Make sure our will is fully surrendered to God. 5. Just say “Yes” 6. In all your ways acknowledge Him. Now we come to the last two steps related to walking in the Spirit.
7. Praying in the Holy Spirit.
Once we have put on the armour of God we need to keep praying in the Holy Spirit. The secret of walking in the Spirit is to be continuously filled with or controlled by the Holy Spirit moment by moment as we pray in the Holy Spirit. The baptism with the Holy Spirit is the initial filling but to stay filled moment by moment we need to pray as we walk and walk as we pray. As we do this it will build us up in our most holy faith and keep us living in the flow of God’s love. (Jude 1:20-21) (Ephesians 5:18) (Romans 5:5) Someone once said years ago; “We can pray in the context of life or live in the context of prayer.” The Bible also says; “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Even when words fail
Praying in the Spirit continuously is prayer that comes up out of our regenerated spirit where the Holy Spirit resides. Sometimes it will be desires and groaning that cannot be uttered in words. At such times the Holy Spirit will be praying in us and through us. One of the benefits of the prayer language of the Holy Spirit is that it is the way to express the inner longings of the heart that we cannot fully process mentally. In all such praying we do not lay aside our intellect but sometimes what we are feeling on the inside cannot be expressed in our own language but in the Holy Spirit those deep longings and desires can be expressed. We can pray in the Spirit in our own language or in the language of the Holy Spirit when words fail but the secret is the surrender of the will and the tongue to God’s control. As we walk by faith so we pray by faith. (Romans 8:26-27) Walking and praying in the Spirit is to be a daily discipline.
Yielding our tongues to God
The Bible says that “the power of life and death is in the tongue.” With the tongue we can curse or bless others. If our tongue is yielded to God along with our will then we can safely trust the Holy Spirit to enable us to pray according to God’s will even though we may not understand what we are praying audibly. (1 Corinthians 14:4) Once again the secret to praying in the Spirit is the complete unconditional surrender of the will to God. Our bodies are also involved in this. If we give God control of our physical bodies including its appetites and physical desires then God gets the contents and then we will prove what the good acceptable and perfect will of God is for us. (Romans 12:1-2) We can pray in the Spirit on every occasion and continuously as we go about our daily lives. If we do this daily then the joy of the LORD will be in us and we will be enabled to give God thanks in all of our circumstances whether they are good or not so good.
Practice makes perfect
They say practice makes perfect. When you first start to pray in the Holy Spirit Satan will attack you with everything he has. The old temptations and past sins and images from the past will come into your mind and if you are not careful feelings of condemnation for past sins will arise up like spectres in the night. Satan is called the accuser of the brethren who accuses them day and night before God. (Revelation 12:10) If you have confessed and renounced past sins then they are cleansed and forgotten. (Isaiah 43:25) (Psalm 103:12) (Hebrews 8:12) If God has chosen to forget then we likewise should cast those dark imaginations out by calling on the name of the LORD. As we seek to submit our wills to God and resist the devil he will flee from us. When we verbally confess and testify to what the Word of God says that the blood of Jesus does for us and seek continuously not to love our lives in this world even unto the death we will overcome Satan every time he attacks us and his attacks will be merciless, unrelenting and severe at times. (Revelation 12:11).
8. Walking in the Spirit takes time.
Walking in the Spirit takes time and practice but in the end saves time. It is not an instant spiritual ‘fix.’ Sometimes when we seek to pray the flesh wants to do something else. We walk by faith and not by feelings. At such times we need to just start praying trusting that the Holy Spirit will give us the words to say. If words fail then the language of the Holy Spirit that bypasses the intellect can enable us to pray according to God’s will if we have consciously yielded our tongue and especially our will to God’s control. If you have done that then whatever you pray whether in a language you understand or don’t the blessed Holy Spirit will take those words and present them before God perfectly in line with His will. Because the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God He is able to intercede for us and through us according to the will of God. What a wonderful, loving and divine fried we have in the Holy Spirit.
You can start your walk today
a. Recognize that you still have a fallen nature that is at war with the new nature in you and that Satan is working 24/7 around the clock to destabilize your faith. All of his fiery darts are aimed at the shield of faith. (Ephesians 6:16)
b. Make sure you will is surrendered completely to God and that there is no unconfessed or hidden sin in your life and if there is confess it and ask for cleansing from it and power to overcome it. (1 John 1:7-9) When you confessed it and renounced it is when you got rid of it. Refuse the feelings of condemnation after having done that before God. King David said that if we harbour sin in our hearts then the LORD will not hear us. (Psalm 66:18)
c. Ask the Lord Jesus to fill you with His Holy Spirit so that when you see a command or a promise in the Word of God determine to say “yes” and “amen!” (Ephesians 5:18) (Luke 11:13) When He speaks to you just say “yes” and do it. We are commanded to be continuously filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18)
d. Ask Him to be involved in every activity and decision everyday of your life for the day ahead and acknowledge His right to every part of your life.
e. Put on the armour of God and personalize it. Make it a personal prayer and do it out loud as doing this verbally will cement your commitment.
f. Begin to pray in the Holy Spirit praying by faith and looking to Him to give you the words to say. It may be in a language you understand or do not understand. If your will is submitted to God in everything then whatever you pray, whether in a known or unknown tongue, will be presented before God perfectly by the blessed Holy Spirit, who is always interceding for the saints according to God’s will. (Romans 8:26-27) We live by faith and we pray in faith. Prayer takes time but in the end it saves time!
g. Start the day with praise and thanksgiving and say it verbally to God and speak His promises and thank Him for His blessings. It will strengthen your faith and confidence in God. In this way you will be able to walk in the Spirit during the day and not fulfil the desires of the flesh when they assault you and they will because we are still living in this fallen world and we still have our the desires of our fallen nature at war with the desires of the Spirit. Praise will stop Satan in his tracks! (Psalm 8:2) (Psalm 56:8-10) Also using Psalms in praise and worship will guide our hearts and minds to pray and praise in line with God’s will.
h. Resist the devil. When Satan attacks your mind with all kinds of impropriate thoughts and desires and resist him by testifying to what the Word of God says the blood of Jesus does for you. He will flee from you! (James 4:7) Sometimes he will flee straight away but at other times he will need to be resisted with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, coming out of our mouth.
These things are a daily spiritual discipline. Of course we all need a set time every day to pray and read the Word of God. Pick the best time of the day when you are most alert to do this. After doing this, as you go about your daily life, keep praying in the Holy Spirit continuously because Satan’s ‘U-Boats’ are always circling seeking a target to torpedo. (1 Peter 5:7-9) One thing we must all learn to do more effectively is how to pray in the Holy Spirit. If you have been born again by the Holy Spirit then He is in there inside of you and wants to work on you and in you and through you but if your will is not laid down then He is like a prisoner without power. He has the power but He needs your will submitted to Him otherwise He cannot operate in you as He wants to. He never overrides the human will. When you have been baptized with the Holy Spirit your life in the Spirit will be deepened. The prayer language He gives you will enable you to pray beyond your human mind and lift your prayers up to the very throne room of God. In this way you will build yourself up in your most Holy Faith as you pray in the Holy Spirit. (Jude 1:20) Having said this even if you do not have the prayer language you can still pray in the Holy Spirit if your tongue and your will is surrendered to Him. As you pray in faith He will pray for you, with you and in place of you. (Romans 8:26-27)
Walk in the Spirit!
And so Paul writes… “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law… Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires… If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16-19, 24-25). The surrender of the will is the key to praying in the Holy Spirit.