Prayer in the Spirit

Previous page: Sword of the Spirit

Prayer in the Spirit is an important, ongoing activity of spiritual warfare.  Paul included it in his discussion of the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6:18 and Jude mentioned it in his epistle:

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints" Ephesians 6:18 NKJV

“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life” Jude 20-21 NIV

Our Role:   There are two participants involved with prayer in the Spirit - the Holy Spirit and us.  Our part is to pray “always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” and “to be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”  This does not mean that we have to be on our knees all day and night with eyes closed in prayer.   Prayer in the Spirit is an inner activity of the mind and spirit where we maintain a type of open dialogue with God through the Holy Spirit.  Outward actions such as bowing the head and closing the eyes may help us focus better on God, but it’s the inner communication with God that matters most.  

In order to always be in prayer, we’ll need to be in control of our thoughts.  When our thoughts are stuck on sinful fantasies, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to be in prayer.  This is one of the reasons why we are to use the spiritual weapons God gives us to continually be “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV).  (see control thoughts)

The definition of supplication is "asking for humbly or earnestly, as by praying" (American Heritage Dictionary).  Prayer is an acknowledgement that we are not in control and need God to intervene.  This attitude opens the door for communication with God, who can direct and apply our prayers in ways far beyond our understanding.  Therefore, when we pray to God, we should do so earnestly in humility, inviting the Holy Spirit to work in the situation as God wills.  It is really that simple. 

The Spirit's Role:  Once we’ve prayed, the Spirit intercedes for us and pleads in our behalf according to God’s will.  Paul described how the Spirit intercedes in Romans 8:26-27:

26So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance.
27And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God's will.”  Romans 8:26-27
AMP

Leaving prayer concerns in God's hands can be challenging for us if we’re prone to being in control and thinking we know what God should do.  Too often prayer becomes us telling God what to do, i.e. praying our will instead of his will be done (Matthew 6:10).  In situations where God's will is unclear, we should take care not to presume his will.  Praying in the Spirit doesn't require that we speak intelligible words, but simply that we lift up the situation to God, and trust that the Holy Spirit will intercede perfectly for us.    

Speaking in tongues is often used in prayer in the Spirit.  Tongues is a vehicle by which our spirit prays, while our mind may or may not understand what we are praying.  Paul described this in 1 Corinthians 14:14-15 NIV: "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind."  Some people refer to tongues as a special "prayer language."  Paul mentioned that he frequently spoke in tongues and wished that other believers would do the same (1 Corinthians 14:5,18).  (see tongues page for more info) 

What prayer in the Spirit accomplishes:  There are some important things that happen when we pray in the Spirit.  Specifically, prayer in the Spirit:  

·        Perfects our prayer (Romans 8:26)

·        Takes our case directly before God (Romans 8:27)

·        Increases effectiveness of prayer for others (intercessory prayer) (Romans 8:27)

·        Aligns our prayer with God's will (Romans 8:26-27)

Proceed to next page:  Course Wrap-up

Home        Sample Prayers        Armor Study