Monday, March 23, 2009

When the Spirit Moves You to Prayer

Ever wonder what your pastor was talking about when he ask you to pray in the spirit?  

Immediately we began speaking (praying) in tongues, assuming that this is what is required of  us. But is this the right action? Is this really praying in the spirit? And if so, is this the only way  to pray in the spirit ?
Praying in the Spirit or Holy Ghost is only addressed three times in the bible, Jude 1:20 “Praying in
the Holy Ghost”; Ephesians 6:18 “in the Spirit” and 1 Corinthians 14:15 “pray with the Spirit” However, for some people these three verses are clear instructions for praying in tongues.  But,  to say that praying in tongues is the only way of praying in the Spirit is to limit the supernatural methods in which Yahweh provides for us to come into his presence. 
What then is praying in the spirit?  A very interesting thing comes to light when we read Ephesians 6:18 in the NIV Bible says that we should be praying with “All kinds” of prayer, while the Amplified bible says with “all Manner” though parenthetically.  Why is this so important? I think first because it suggests that there are other manners of praying in the Spirit. And secondly because it makes clear that praying in the spirit is not a type of prayer, but rather a way to pray.

Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God's consecrated people). Ephesians 6:18 (Amplified Bible)

 Praying in (for) the Natural

Now history has warned us to be discerning;  not  every man that says he is of Christ is of Christ, this is the purpose of the parable of the sower (Matt 13:3-23; Mark 4:2-20; Luke 8:4-15).  Sometimes the actions that we see in men are deceptive, or motivated in their desires. Jesus said in  speaking of Judas Iscariot one of his own disciples “one of you is a devil” (John 6:70)   Now Jesus was not saying Judas was Satan but rather that the evils of the devil had already taken his heart.  Demas, a first century Christian that who followed the faith, and was even imprisoned with the Apostle Paul in Rome, was one of those seeds sown on rocky ground. The Apostle Paul writes to Timotheos (Timothy) about their mutual friend in his second letter saying “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4:10For this reason The Apostle Paul warns us to Examine and test and evaluate our own selves to see whether we are holding to our faith (2 Corinthians 13:5a [Amplified Bible]) Today we live in a world where selfishness is considered normal. The younger generation are more concerned with what they can get out of life than what they can add to someone's life. Even our prayers are not so that we may come into the presence of God, but are supernatural shopping lists that we present before the creator of the universe. Give me, do for me,  and bless me, occupy two, five and even ten times the space of our prayer then "thank you Jesus"  and "worship". But we think if we do it on a regular basis then we are coming before God's presence. 

And on the grounds of prayer alone it looks as if we are doing everything  right. At least  as seen from outside.  However,  what motivates us to spend time in prayer is not our love for Jesus, its our want of the things of this world.  Remember what Paul wrote to Timothy? "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world (2 Timothy 4:10)" It is difficult to allow the expulsive power of the Love of Christ to explicate  the things of this world. what is behind our actions, or more importantly, what is behind our prayers.  The word reprobate is only written 7 times in the Bible,  six time by the apostle Paul and four of those time he is directing it toward Christian that think because of their action they are right with God. Jeremiah 6:30 tells us God rejects the reprobate, and  three time in 2 Corinthians 13 Paul warns us to examine ourselves to make sure we are not of a reprobate mind.

 Glazed Covered Prayers
 Like a coating of glaze over earthenware are fervent lips with an evil  heart. Proverbs 26:23 (NIV)
Nothing has bothered me more than the expression pray with fervent prayer, not that it’s not scriptural, Rather because men, even our leaders, sometimes associated eloquence of words, or crying during prayers, gyrations, and even speaking in tongues as fervent prayer.  But as we can see from the previous examples that a man can pretend to be anything he wants to be.  So than can a man say the right words to appear to be fervent, and sometimes he (or she) may even thinks in their ignorance that they are fervent in their prayers.

There is no way we can measure the value of a person’s prayers, (how fervent it is) not by what we hear, or what we feel, or even know about that person. What may appears to be fervent to us, what appears to “usher in the Glory” (you choose the terminology) may be backed by personal gains and just hateful ways, only that person and God know what’s on their heart. We must allow the glazed covered prayer to pray right alone side the truly fervent prayers, the wheat alone side the tares, the eleven Apostles right alone side of Judas, because if we try to separate them we will drive away the saints, trying to get rid of the sinners. This is how Jesus dealt with this problem, this is how the Bible deals with this problem, this is how we must deal with this problem, because only God can know the hearts of men.
But so that we don't become false pretenders, we must allow ourselves to pray in the fervency of our heart.  Not in tongues because other speak in tongues, not in eloquence of word because others may pray eloquently, Not with gyrations because other gyrate or in dance because others dance. our prayers and worship can't be a lie, for other to see. In a world of seven billion people God desire all to worship Him in sprit and truth! Oh how beautiful it would be if seven billion people worship Jehovah with all they had. some would dance like David, some would sing like Mahilia  Jackson, and some would meditate like Martin Luther, but all would be worshiping him in spirit and truth.
Praying in the Spirit
So to pray in the spirit is not something we workup or plan to do when we are before the congregation.  To pray in the spirit means to pray in such a way as to be lead by the Spirit to pray. This is a bit controversial in that many people have taking speaking in tongues to mean praying in the spirit. However we would have to read something into the scripture (eisegesis) to reach such a conclusion. (Yet to say there is no speaking in tongues we would likewise have to read into the scripture what is not there)  

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 (KJV)

The above verse suggest that God is working in us, Yahweh, by his Holy Spirit is unctioning us to do
what He would have us do.  That being said we can be certain that  spiritual prayer is as much if not more an action of God as it is of us. Spiritual Prayer finds it origin in God and in our obedience to the Holy Spirit as the Holy Spirit unctions us. As we read the Amplified Bible this simple fact becomes abundantly clear that God is the origin of our spiritual prayer.
[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.
Philippians 2:13 (Amplified Bible)

So then in answer to Paul's requirement that we examine ourselves, we must even in our prays ask. " are my prayers based on"Give me, do for me,  and bless me," relationship with the creator of the universe? Or are they motivated, by the desire to know Him more personally? Am i praying to please of boast my accolades before men? or is it God working in you both to will and to do his good pleasure?

Try this, all this week think on meditate on prayer on Philippians 2:13 and see if you will go a little deeper in your prayers.

Your Brother In Christ


  1. Good word brother. As a post-charismatic, I say a hearty "amen." I love that passage you cited of Paul, that we are to pay "all kinds of spiritual prayers." The prayer of silence, the prayer of adoring love, the prayer of presence, the prayer of silent awe. If we limit this phrase "pray in the spirit" to "speaking in tongues," we limit our relationship with HIM. Perhaps, in Paul's lingo, God looks at much of our praying thusly as so much "sounding brass."

    I would also add brother that to "pray in spirit," is to pray IN HIM who is IN US, as our indwelling Savior, Lord, Teacher and Friend. It is to pray with a profound sense of HIS nearness to us.

    Your brother,