Praying in the Spirit
Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need. (Ephesians 6:18, NCV)
Probably all of us have times when we find praying hard work. That’s when it’s good to remember Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit to be our ‘helper’ (John 14:26, NCV). In fact, without the Spirit, we could never pray.
Having already urged the Ephesians to ‘be filled with the Sprit’ (Ephesians 5:18), Paul now encouraged them to ‘pray in the Spirit’. He probably meant a number of things by that: that we should expect the Spirit to remind us of our relationship with our Father, from which a strong basis of prayer comes; to convict us when there is sin in our life, so that nothing hinders our prayers; to show us God’s heart and truth, so that we know what to pray about; to be the one who ‘helps us in our weakness’ (Romans 8:26). This expression literally means ‘he takes hold of us at our side’. The Spirit really will support us in our praying, if only we will ask!
One further thing that Paul may be referring to is praying in tongues. Our experience as authors is different in this area: Martin doesn’t exercise the gift, whereas Mike does; but both see it is a genuine gift of the Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 12:4-11,27-31; 14:1-33). While in corporate gatherings, praying in tongues requires interpretation to be of benefit (1 Corinthians 14:13-17), in private use it needs no interpretation, for it is a means of personal edification and of being able to pray beyond our knowledge or understanding (especially useful when we don’t know the details of a particular situation). Paul believed in the value of praying both ‘with my mind’ (i.e. in our own language) and ‘with my spirit’ (i.e. in tongues) (1 Corinthians 14:15). So if God has given you this gift, use it. (And if he hasn’t, why not at least ask him for it?) Your intercession on behalf of others in this way may well be expressing things that your natural mind could never think of nor could ever know.
We are not on our own in our praying! The Spirit of Jesus is truly with us; so ask him for his help and direction.
Pray in the Holy Spirit. (Jude v. 20)
Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont
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