January 31, 2013
"Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us..." (Romans 8:26).
Are you satisfied with your prayer life? Most of us would answer no. Prayer is our greatest Christian privilege but, sadly, our greatest failure. We fail more in our prayer life than in any other place.
We’re in a battle with three enemies, the world, the flesh, and the devil. The devil will fight you every step, because if you pray in the Spirit, you can beat him every time.
Now, some of us are indifferent—we really don’t want to pray. Some don’t know what to pray for or how to pray. And sometimes when we try to pray, the devil invades our thoughts to divert our attention.
God knows this, so He has given Someone to help us—the Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:26-27 says we’re to “pray in the Spirit.” To pray in the flesh (the old nature) is to fail. To pray in the Spirit is to succeed. The early church accomplished what it did because it advanced on its knees, mighty in power because they were mighty in prayer. Paul admonishes the Ephesians to pray “always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18). Jude 1:20 says, “…building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.”
What does it mean to “pray in the Spirit”?
Sometimes we don’t want to pray—our carnal mind has no more desire to pray than a dog has to watch opera. But the Holy Spirit will help you. Jesus loved to pray—it was natural for Him. If the Holy Spirit is in control of your life, you will be like Him. And just as it was natural for Jesus to pray, “Abba, Father,” for the Spirit-filled person it becomes natural to say, “Abba Father,” to worship and praise Him. When you are yielded to the Spirit, it’s as normal as breathing.
When praying, do you get sleepy, groggy, or struggle to concentrate? Does your mind go out the door and around the world? Our flesh is weak. The devil teams up with it to keep us from praying. When you come to the end of your strength and appropriate His strength, the Holy Spirit refreshes your body (Romans 8:10-11) to give vitality and energy to do the will of God (Romans 8:26). I know that from personal experience.
When you’re praying in the Spirit, who is praying? You or the Holy Spirit in you? The answer is yes. The Holy Spirit is praying together with you. You cannot do it without Him. He will not do it without you. He wants to think through our minds, speak through our lips, and weep through our eyes.
Sometimes we just don’t know what to pray for as we ought. But the Holy Spirit knows. He adapts our prayers saying, “Father, that’s what he’s asking for, but here’s what he needs.” Wonderfully, He transforms them. Even when you don’t know exactly what to pray, just pray! God knows your heart and what you need. God’s plan is not to make you healthy, wealthy and happy, but to make you like the Lord Jesus, conformed to the image of His Son. That’s what it’s all about.
Prayer is not simply sending prayer missiles to Heaven; it is talking with a friend. Have you ever felt like God was a billion light years away; you’re just praying at God rather than to God? The Holy Spirit brings you into God’s presence. When you’re in the Spirit, God is in you, and you’re praying in the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes our thoughts are so heavy, we can’t put them into words. We need to be praying in the Spirit. He enters into that agony with us. “But the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us,” His Spirit merged with our human spirit. Pain transfigured by hope.
You have a Father to pray to. You have a Savior to pray through. And, gloriously, you have a Spirit to pray in. What a partnership! What a privilege to pray with the Holy Spirit.