Praying in the Holy Spirit

We are told in the Book of Jude “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,” (Jude 1:20)

By praying in the Holy Spirit we will be kept by, and regulated by the love of God and be kept alert and anxious to see the return of the Lord Jesus which is our hope for the future in a world that is rapidly sinking into the depths of a dark spiritual sink hole. Our faith as believers must be grounded in God’s Word because “faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17) We need the Word of God but also the Holy Spirit.

We have three great spiritual weapons that can be used against the devil and his cohorts from Hades. These are the Word of God, the Spirit of God and the blood of the Lord Jesus. We need to have these three weapons interacting with is in our daily life. Our faith is built through reading and believing God’s Word and through praying in the Holy Spirit. Prayer that will be effective is that which is offered in the power of the Holy Spirit and with expectant faith. (Mark 11:22-25)

So many prayer meetings are dry and ponderous and even though some may wax eloquent with their prayers, there is a lack of spiritual power in the prayer meeting. This in itself will drive people away not to the prayer meeting. Let’s be honest how many prayer meetings have we attended that are structured and wordy but dry and at the end leave one feeling ‘tired.’ Now have you ever considered the fact that when you are praying personally that there is another friend beside you who Himself prays and intercedes for you as a believer in our Lord Jesus. God has not left us orphans spiritually but in giving us the Holy Spirit God has given us a wonderful, loving, discerning, praying, sensitive and divine friend with all the marks of personality.

Let’s briefly turn to the Book of Romans Chapter 8 where we read…

“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)

In these verses we are told several things about how the Holy Spirit works with us when we pray.

Firstly, notice the word “helps.”

Now in the Greek text this word has three tenses. He prays for us when we do not know how to pray accordingly. He prays with us as He takes hold of the problem together with us that we are wrestling with. He prays in place of us when words fail. One of the advantages of speaking in an unknown tongue is that it can release the inner spirit of a believer to express verbally their feelings when words are absent. It’s like a tap to a pressure cooker that releases the steam building up within the cooker. As the psalmist says in psalm 139, “You discern my thoughts from afar…even before a word is on my tongue you O Lord know it altogether.” So we can already see that the blessed Holy Spirit wants us to interact with Him in all of the changing circumstances of life. One thing that never changes is God’s Word as it will say the same thing tomorrow as it does today. (Psalm 119:89)

Secondly notice that the Spirit “Intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” 

there are times when we will have an inner groaning that words cannot express. This is the Holy Spirit groaning within our spirit because “he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1 Corinthians 6:17) The blessed Holy Spirit Himself knows what needs to be said, what should be said, and what needs to be done, especially in times when we do not know what to pray, to say or to do. At such times we can pray in the Spirit that will “build us up in our most holy faith” and confidence in God’s benevolence and keep us in the love of God and with an expectancy that we will find mercy from the Lord Jesus when He comes back to bring us into eternal life. (Jude 1:20-21)

The phrase “to deep for words” does not mean it is impossible to speak words but that there will be times when words are not forth coming and at such times we need to ask the Holy Spirit to pray through us. As we start to pray at first our words might falter and not come freely but as we keep at it in faith the words we need will come. It may be an unknown tongue or in a language we understand and speak. The language is not important. What is important is that our tongue is yielded to God and that by faith we trust in the Holy Spirit to pray through us.

If we do this then the Holy Spirit will release His power, not straight away, but as we persist and do not give up then the words we need to express our heartfelt prayer will be given to us and that in abundance. The language will overflow and the inner regenerated spirit revived. (1 Corinthians 13:4)

Thirdly, notice the phrase, ” He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit”

This can be rendered  ” He who searches the hearts knows the thoughts, the feelings and the purposes of the Spirit” If God knows the innermost thoughts, the emotions and the will of the Spirit then He most certainly knows all about us in the deepest recesses of our inner spirit and soul even when we do not even know ourselves. He is deep down on the inside of us groaning for us and that with us and in place of us when human words fail and feelings and emotions are being tossed about like a wild foaming sea stirred up by a mighty storm.

Fourthly, notice the phrase,” He intercedes for us according to the will of God.”

The Holy Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the Father’s will. No matter how dissatisfied we are with our prayer life, we can take comfort in that the Spirit makes up for our lack of proper content in our prayers. The Lord Jesus intercedes for us in heaven. (Hebrews 7:25) and the Holy Spirit intercedes for us by His indwelling presence. Now God does not always answer our prayer in the way we expect Him to. Sometimes He does but at other times He doesn’t. For example, He did not answer Paul when he prayed three times about removing his thorn in his flesh (2 Co 12:7-10). However, God always answers the Spirit’s intercession on our behalf because He always prays according to God’s standards or will.

We should take courage that God’s will is fulfilled regardless of our failure to pray properly or to express adequate words. If the deepest longing of our heart is to do the will of God in our prayer, the Spirit will meet us in that prayer. All of our prayers will be answered according to God’s will which we are told is good, acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2) The blessed Holy Spirit Himself knows all things and knows what needs to be said and done in our changing circumstances of life and prays accordingly, perfectly and in total oneness with the thoughts, feelings and purposes of God the Father and with God the Son.

The Triune Godhead are one in every way, thought, feeling and purpose and agree in all things. They never act independently from each other. It is a great privilege to realise that when we come to pray to God that we also are praying to the Lord Jesus and to the Holy Spirit. The fact that God is triune in nature is a wonderful revelation when you know how they function within the Godhead. We can praise and worship all three.

Sometimes, when we are praying and finding it hard to express words we will often be tempted to give up and even wring our hands in despair, not knowing the way out, not seeing any change in our outward circumstances. At such times we need to be reassured that that “it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13) If we know God’s Word then we can bring His promises before Him because He cannot deny his Word. The only things that will hinder our prayers are unbelief, unconfessed and un-renounced sin or an unforgiving attitude to someone else. (Mark 11:22-25)

The reality for us is that we are at war, at war with Satan, his cohorts from hell, at war with the lures of the world and above all else at war with ourselves in relation to the desires of the flesh which constantly battle against the desires of the Spirit within us. (Romans 5:16-18) If we did not have this “inner battle” especially with ourselves, there would be no signs of spiritual life in us. The fact of the matter is that because we have this struggle within is because we have the Spirit of God dealing with our fallen fleshly nature which at times just refuses to lie down and die. No one has their act together spiritually. Not even the apostle Paul had it all together. As a well-known Bible teacher and scholar said, when speaking about the deliverance of Lot that, “it will be a miracle if any of us make it out of here in the end.” Too true!

Thanks be to God who gives us the victory in and through our Lord Jesus the Messiah and thank God for His blessed Holy Spirit who intercedes for us and enables us to do and to complete the will of God that He has chosen for us from all eternity even before the universe was created. (Psalm 139: 16) If we cultivate our daily walk with the blessed Holy Spirit then He will lead us into all truth and into that good, acceptable and perfect will of God. Submitting to God’s will may be hard at first and the flesh not wanting to come into line with his purposes but in the end it will prove to be the best and sweetest thing in all the world!

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