How to Pray in the Spirit
The scriptures say, “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” (Romans 8:26 NSAB). In and of ourselves, we can never properly pray as we should. We need God’s help to even talk to Him. We don’t know how to pray or what to pray for as we ought. The believer should earnestly lean on the Holy Spirit each time he seeks the Lord in prayer.
Praying in the Spirit has always been a topic of dispute and controversy. The scriptures say we should be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18 NASB). This is the responsibility of every born again believer. But what does this mean? How do we pray in the Spirit? Let me suggest four possible interpretations or applications of praying in the Spirit.
Praying with dependency on the Holy Spirit. Praying in the Spirit is first and foremost praying with complete and absolute dependency on the Spirit of God to help us to pray and how to pray. We are in need of His assistance if we ever hope to pray as we should. Jesus said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NASB). Jesus helps us through the agency of the Holy Spirit to pray what and how we should. We need Him. We cannot properly pray without Him. We must be in complete dependence upon Him when we seek the face of God. One of the first things we must ask in our prayer time is for the Holy Spirit’s help.
Borne along in our prayers by the Holy Spirit. “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 20 NASB). This is in those times when you are praying – pouring your heart out to God. All the sudden words begin flowing out of your heart effortlessly. It is during these times that the Holy Spirit takes over and it is no loner you but the Holy Spirit that is crying out to God (Romans 8:15).
This usually takes place after we have spent considerable time praying. It seldom happens when we first begin to pray. This is why few ever experience being borne along in their prayers by the Holy Spirit. It takes discipline of commitment in our time of prayer before the Spirit of God takes over in power and we seem to fade into the background. Let’s commit ourselves to concerted, concentrated and fervent prayer until it is no longer us but God’s Spirit praying through us.
Praying in tongues.“He that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries (1 Corinthians 14:2 KJV). This is not the Holy Spirit praying but our human spirit moved upon by the Spirit of God. Our human spirit begins speaking directly to God in a language we do not understand (1 Corinthians 14:15).
This can be one of the most powerful forms of prayer and praise for two reasons: 1. We cannot have unbelief as to what we are praying for. 2. We are speaking mysteries to God. When we are facing a situation where we are at a loss as to how to pray, we begin praying with our spirit (tongues), by-passing our understanding, and praying directly to God. For more insight about the ministry of tongues read: Fivefold Ministry of the Holy Spirit, How to Receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Questions About Speaking in Tongues.
“Groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26 NSAB). This is prayer that is not vocalized in understandable words, human or spiritual. Notice it says, “Too deep for words” – even tongues. This seems to rarely happen and takes place only when we are so intensely burdened in prayer that our spirit or the Holy Spirit within us begins to groan within us with “Groanings too deep for words.” Sadly, few rarely enter such depths of prayer.
Prayer: Precious Holy Spirit, we are in need of your help. We cannot pray without you. Without your assistance we are merely uttering empty words. We beseech you to take control of our prayer life – help us to pray and pray as we should. In Jesus name, amen!