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"Whatis praying in the Spirit?"- 5st
September2017
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray
for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.’ (Romans8:26).
The Greekword translated“prayin”can have several differentmeanings.Itcanmean“by meansof,”
“withthe helpof,”“inthe sphere of,”and“in connectionto.”Prayingin the Spiritdoesnotrefertothe
wordswe are saying.Rather,itreferstohow we are praying.Prayinginthe Spiritisprayingaccordingto
the Spirit’sleading.Itisprayingforthingsthe Spiritleadsustopray as saidin Romans 8:26, “In the
same way, the Spirithelps usin our weakness. We donot know what we ought to pray for,but the
Spirithimselfintercedes for us throughwordlessgroans.”
What is‘wordlessgroans?’Whenwe are weigheddownbylife’sheavyburdens,there are timeswhen
we don’tevenknowhowto pray.Yet inthese moments,“the HolySpiritpraysforuswithgroaningthat
cannot be expressedinwords.”Wow!Inthe mysteryof God’s triune nature,the verySpiritof Godprays
for us.Andthese prayersinclude wordlessgroans.Here iswonderful newsforus.Whenyoudon’tknow
howto pray, the Spiritof God isthere to help.Whenyourun outof words,God understandsyour
wordlesssighs.Whenall youhave tobringbefore Godare your tears,he can readthe meaningof each
one.Moreover,asamazingas it sounds,the triune Godisprayingwithyou,throughyou,and for you.
God entersintothe brokennessof ourworldandour lives,sharingeveninourgroaning.
Prayinginthe Spiritismentionedthree timesinScripture. Whenwe say ‘prayinginthe Spirit,’itis
clearlytaughtinthe Word of God, in 1 Corinthians14:15, “Sowhat shall I do?I will praywith my spirit,
but I will alsopray with my understanding;Iwill sing withmy spirit,but I will alsosingwith my
understanding.” Againisfoundin Jude20, “Butyou, dear friends,by buildingyourselvesupin your
most holyfaithand prayinginthe HolySpirit.” We come across thisalsoin Ephesians6:18, “Andpray
in the Spiriton all occasionswith all kindsof prayers andrequests. Withthis in mind,be alert and
alwayskeep onprayingfor all the Lord’s people.”That is notall.These versesare commands.God
expectseveryChristianonearthtopray in thisway.Do I? Do you?Do we see evidence of thissortof
prayerin our churchprayer meetings?
We needtoanswerthese questions,because above versesmake clearthatsuch prayeris linkedbothto
our ownspiritual growthandto our successinspiritual warfare. So,whatexactlydoesitmeantoprayin
the Spirit?Sometimeswe have somuchto say to God that we tell himeverythingthatisonour mind
withoutanysense of shame forour sinor any consciousreliance onthe Personandworkof Christ.We
pour outour heart withoutkneelingatthe cross.We talkand talkwithouta tear onour cheekand
withouta sightChristsittingatGod’sright hand.Thisis not‘prayinginthe Spirit’,because itisthe
Spirit’sconstantministrytoconvictusof our sin,to draw attentiontothe Saviourandto glorifyhim:
“Whenhe comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong aboutsin andrighteousnessand
judgment:9
aboutsin, becausepeople do not believein me; 10
aboutrighteousness,because I am going
to the Father, where you cansee me no longer; 11
andaboutjudgment,because the prince of this
world nowstandscondemned. (John16:8-11).
Sometimeswe spendtime inprayer,butthe greatthemesof the Lord’sPrayerare mostlyor entirely
absentfromwhat we have to say. We sayin as a memorizedroutine ‘prayer’repetitivelyeveneachday.
But withno“spirit”in the prayer. Thisis not‘prayinginthe Spirit’,because the Wordthat he has
inspiredtellsuswhatthemesourSaviourexpectsustocover as we findin Matthew 6:9-13). Yes,the
whole Wordof God is of use in directingourprayers.Byinstructionandexample itshowsushow to
pray fora vastarray of subjects.Butthe themescontainedinthe Lord’sPrayerwill obviouslyandalways
have special prominence assomethingwe learnedaskids.
Similarly,sometimeswe findourselvessimply‘sayingourprayers’, asa routine requirement butour
heartis notin it.We are coldand listless.We have no fervor.We have no faith.We have noenergy.We
knowthat there isno chance of usprayingwithimportunity. Againthisisnot‘prayinginthe Spirit’,
because HisWord constantlyshowsusthatwhenpeople reallypray,theirwhole soul isinwhattheyare
praying.Whenone istrulyprayinginthe spirit,theiremotionsare fully engagedPhilippians 1:9-11,
“Andthis ismy prayer: that yourlove may aboundmore andmore inknowledge anddepth of insight,
10
sothat you may be able to discernwhat is best and maybe pure andblamelessfor the day of Christ,
11
filledwiththe fruit of righteousnessthatcomes throughJesus Christ—tothe gloryand praiseof
God.” Theylayholdof God’s promises forexampleasfoundin James1:5-8, “If any ofyou lacks wisdom,
you shouldaskGod,who givesgenerously to all withoutfindingfault,andit will be given to you. 6
But
when you ask, you must believeand not doubt,because the one who doubtsis like a wave ofthe sea,
blownand tossedby the wind. 7
That person shouldnotexpect to receive anythingfromthe Lord.
8
Such a personis double-mindedandunstableinall they do.”We can also learnfromthe bible thattrue
prayerworshiperswillprayonand on until theyreceivewhattheyare askingfor as we can learnfrom
Luke 11:9-10, “So I say to you:Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;knock andthe
door will be opened to you. 10
For everyone who asks receives; the one whoseeks finds;andto the one
who knocks,the doorwill be opened.”
As statedabove sometimeswhenwe come topray, dependingonourcircumstances we simplydonot
knowwhatwe shouldpray for.Nothingcomestomind.Despite ourknowledge of whatthe Scriptures
teachabout prayer,we findourselvescompletelyata loss.Thisisnot ‘prayinginthe Spirit’,because
whenhe isat workina dumbhearthe stirs up‘agonisinglongingsandwhichneverfindwords’(J.B.
Phillips),butwhichimpel the heartinaGod-warddirection,andwhichbecome unspokenprayersinline
withthe will of God as saidin Romans 8:26-27, “In the same way, the Spirithelps us inour weakness.
We do not knowwhat we oughtto pray for, butthe Spirithimselfintercedes for us throughwordless
groans.27
Andhe whosearches our hearts knows the mind ofthe Spirit,becausethe Spiritintercedes
for God’speoplein accordancewith the will of God.”The believer’sheart,awestruck,silent,and
prayer-filled,becomesconsciousof beingaholysanctuary.
So itis,by reflectingonwhat ‘prayinginthe Spirit’isnot,we come to discoverwhatit is. It is
approachingGod as a failure anda sinner,andexpectingtobe receivedbyhimonnoother basisthan
that ‘the Sonof God wholovesme andgave His life forme’ as statedin Galatians2:20, “I have been
crucifiedwith Christand I no longerlive, butChrist livesin me. The lifeI now live inthe body,I live by
faithin the Son ofGod,who loved me andgave himselffor me.” Our prayingshouldbe inaccordance
withGods holyWord,givingprominencetothe themescontainedinthe Lord’sPrayer.Itisprayingfrom
the heart,with fervor,faithandimportunity.Anditismore thanwords.There isa consciousnessof
innerconstraint.The desiresof the heartare beingmovedinaparticulardirection.Somethingis
happeningdeepdowninsideme whichistoowonderfultofullydescribe.Inthe name of Godthe Son,
God the HolySpiritistalkingto God the Father,and thisintercessionissomehow takingplace inside me!
5th September 2017  - What is Praying in the Spirit?

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Deerfoot Church of Christ Bulletin 5 19 24
 

5th September 2017 - What is Praying in the Spirit?

  • 1. "Whatis praying in the Spirit?"- 5st September2017 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.’ (Romans8:26). The Greekword translated“prayin”can have several differentmeanings.Itcanmean“by meansof,” “withthe helpof,”“inthe sphere of,”and“in connectionto.”Prayingin the Spiritdoesnotrefertothe wordswe are saying.Rather,itreferstohow we are praying.Prayinginthe Spiritisprayingaccordingto the Spirit’sleading.Itisprayingforthingsthe Spiritleadsustopray as saidin Romans 8:26, “In the same way, the Spirithelps usin our weakness. We donot know what we ought to pray for,but the Spirithimselfintercedes for us throughwordlessgroans.” What is‘wordlessgroans?’Whenwe are weigheddownbylife’sheavyburdens,there are timeswhen we don’tevenknowhowto pray.Yet inthese moments,“the HolySpiritpraysforuswithgroaningthat cannot be expressedinwords.”Wow!Inthe mysteryof God’s triune nature,the verySpiritof Godprays for us.Andthese prayersinclude wordlessgroans.Here iswonderful newsforus.Whenyoudon’tknow howto pray, the Spiritof God isthere to help.Whenyourun outof words,God understandsyour wordlesssighs.Whenall youhave tobringbefore Godare your tears,he can readthe meaningof each one.Moreover,asamazingas it sounds,the triune Godisprayingwithyou,throughyou,and for you. God entersintothe brokennessof ourworldandour lives,sharingeveninourgroaning. Prayinginthe Spiritismentionedthree timesinScripture. Whenwe say ‘prayinginthe Spirit,’itis clearlytaughtinthe Word of God, in 1 Corinthians14:15, “Sowhat shall I do?I will praywith my spirit, but I will alsopray with my understanding;Iwill sing withmy spirit,but I will alsosingwith my understanding.” Againisfoundin Jude20, “Butyou, dear friends,by buildingyourselvesupin your most holyfaithand prayinginthe HolySpirit.” We come across thisalsoin Ephesians6:18, “Andpray in the Spiriton all occasionswith all kindsof prayers andrequests. Withthis in mind,be alert and alwayskeep onprayingfor all the Lord’s people.”That is notall.These versesare commands.God expectseveryChristianonearthtopray in thisway.Do I? Do you?Do we see evidence of thissortof prayerin our churchprayer meetings? We needtoanswerthese questions,because above versesmake clearthatsuch prayeris linkedbothto our ownspiritual growthandto our successinspiritual warfare. So,whatexactlydoesitmeantoprayin the Spirit?Sometimeswe have somuchto say to God that we tell himeverythingthatisonour mind withoutanysense of shame forour sinor any consciousreliance onthe Personandworkof Christ.We pour outour heart withoutkneelingatthe cross.We talkand talkwithouta tear onour cheekand withouta sightChristsittingatGod’sright hand.Thisis not‘prayinginthe Spirit’,because itisthe Spirit’sconstantministrytoconvictusof our sin,to draw attentiontothe Saviourandto glorifyhim: “Whenhe comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong aboutsin andrighteousnessand judgment:9 aboutsin, becausepeople do not believein me; 10 aboutrighteousness,because I am going to the Father, where you cansee me no longer; 11 andaboutjudgment,because the prince of this world nowstandscondemned. (John16:8-11).
  • 2. Sometimeswe spendtime inprayer,butthe greatthemesof the Lord’sPrayerare mostlyor entirely absentfromwhat we have to say. We sayin as a memorizedroutine ‘prayer’repetitivelyeveneachday. But withno“spirit”in the prayer. Thisis not‘prayinginthe Spirit’,because the Wordthat he has inspiredtellsuswhatthemesourSaviourexpectsustocover as we findin Matthew 6:9-13). Yes,the whole Wordof God is of use in directingourprayers.Byinstructionandexample itshowsushow to pray fora vastarray of subjects.Butthe themescontainedinthe Lord’sPrayerwill obviouslyandalways have special prominence assomethingwe learnedaskids. Similarly,sometimeswe findourselvessimply‘sayingourprayers’, asa routine requirement butour heartis notin it.We are coldand listless.We have no fervor.We have no faith.We have noenergy.We knowthat there isno chance of usprayingwithimportunity. Againthisisnot‘prayinginthe Spirit’, because HisWord constantlyshowsusthatwhenpeople reallypray,theirwhole soul isinwhattheyare praying.Whenone istrulyprayinginthe spirit,theiremotionsare fully engagedPhilippians 1:9-11, “Andthis ismy prayer: that yourlove may aboundmore andmore inknowledge anddepth of insight, 10 sothat you may be able to discernwhat is best and maybe pure andblamelessfor the day of Christ, 11 filledwiththe fruit of righteousnessthatcomes throughJesus Christ—tothe gloryand praiseof God.” Theylayholdof God’s promises forexampleasfoundin James1:5-8, “If any ofyou lacks wisdom, you shouldaskGod,who givesgenerously to all withoutfindingfault,andit will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believeand not doubt,because the one who doubtsis like a wave ofthe sea, blownand tossedby the wind. 7 That person shouldnotexpect to receive anythingfromthe Lord. 8 Such a personis double-mindedandunstableinall they do.”We can also learnfromthe bible thattrue prayerworshiperswillprayonand on until theyreceivewhattheyare askingfor as we can learnfrom Luke 11:9-10, “So I say to you:Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;knock andthe door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one whoseeks finds;andto the one who knocks,the doorwill be opened.” As statedabove sometimeswhenwe come topray, dependingonourcircumstances we simplydonot knowwhatwe shouldpray for.Nothingcomestomind.Despite ourknowledge of whatthe Scriptures teachabout prayer,we findourselvescompletelyata loss.Thisisnot ‘prayinginthe Spirit’,because whenhe isat workina dumbhearthe stirs up‘agonisinglongingsandwhichneverfindwords’(J.B. Phillips),butwhichimpel the heartinaGod-warddirection,andwhichbecome unspokenprayersinline withthe will of God as saidin Romans 8:26-27, “In the same way, the Spirithelps us inour weakness. We do not knowwhat we oughtto pray for, butthe Spirithimselfintercedes for us throughwordless groans.27 Andhe whosearches our hearts knows the mind ofthe Spirit,becausethe Spiritintercedes for God’speoplein accordancewith the will of God.”The believer’sheart,awestruck,silent,and prayer-filled,becomesconsciousof beingaholysanctuary. So itis,by reflectingonwhat ‘prayinginthe Spirit’isnot,we come to discoverwhatit is. It is approachingGod as a failure anda sinner,andexpectingtobe receivedbyhimonnoother basisthan that ‘the Sonof God wholovesme andgave His life forme’ as statedin Galatians2:20, “I have been crucifiedwith Christand I no longerlive, butChrist livesin me. The lifeI now live inthe body,I live by faithin the Son ofGod,who loved me andgave himselffor me.” Our prayingshouldbe inaccordance withGods holyWord,givingprominencetothe themescontainedinthe Lord’sPrayer.Itisprayingfrom the heart,with fervor,faithandimportunity.Anditismore thanwords.There isa consciousnessof innerconstraint.The desiresof the heartare beingmovedinaparticulardirection.Somethingis happeningdeepdowninsideme whichistoowonderfultofullydescribe.Inthe name of Godthe Son, God the HolySpiritistalkingto God the Father,and thisintercessionissomehow takingplace inside me!