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  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. Revelation 1:3
   
 

Praying In The Spirit


Sooner or later, every soul comes face to face with the stark reality that life is nothing without Christ. Need awakens desire, and desire opens the way for prayer. When the Holy Spirit exposes your undone condition, He does not stop there, but He also prompts you to pray for help.

The Holy Spirit even offers to help you pray. Zechariah 12:10 says, “I will our upon the house of David … the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced.” The Holy Spirit arouses in you an attitude of supplication as He takes you into the presence of the One who was pierced for your sake on the cross.

God immediately answered the prayer of the poor publican, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Luke 18:13. Every sinner can pray that prayer and know that it will be answered. However, too often we do not persist in prayer, as we should. (Romans 12:12.) Many church members pray as little as non-church members. They fret and stew and worry with their shortcomings, but they do not pray about them. When prompted to pray, they stifle the inner urge. Thus, the person who refuses to pray actually quenches the Spirit. Prayerlessness will eventually lead to spiritual suicide. Only he who does not pray will commit the “unpardonable sin.” Every blessing received should prompt us to praise God in prayer. How can God give us greater blessings if we do not appreciate those already given?

Those who are not sensitive enough to the Holy Spirit’s promptings to pray can never expect to be filled with the Spirit. God pours “the spirit of grace and of supplications” upon us that we might pray. Without the Spirit’s help, no one can pray an acceptable prayer. Paul declared, “I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also.” 1 Corinthians 14:15. And Jude spoke of “praying in the Holy Ghost.” (Jude 20.) God wants us to pray our prayers, not just say our prayers. We should be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 6:18.) Praying in the Spirit means putting heart and soul into our requests-not forgetting, of course, to ask in faith and according to God’s will.

In prayer, it is our privilege to know “the fellowship of the Spirit,” and “communion of the Holy Ghost.” We may become better acquainted with God by prayer than in any other way, especially when prayer takes the form of conversation. After telling God about our joys and needs, we should listen to what the Spirit has to say to us.

Since the Holy Spirit imparts the urge to pray, our response should be to pray when so impressed. One reason for the spiritual poverty which abounds is that there is so little asking. James said, “Ye have not, because ye ask not.” James 4:2. So, start asking!  However, asking is not enough-we must also ask aright. James pointed out, “Ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lust.” Verse 3. Our heavenly Father seeks to draw us to His great heart of love, to encourage us not to go farther away from Him.

As we pray, the Spirit may remind us of some neglected duty. Christ admonished, “When ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any.” Mark 11:25. Then, too, we should cultivate pleasant home relations “that your prayers be not hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7.) Concerning those who ask not in faith James declared, “Let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.” (James 1:5-7.) From Christ’s lips, we have this promise: “What things so ever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Mark 11:24.

 

How shall we pray? “Always.” (Luke 18:1), “abouring fervently” (Colossians 4:12, “without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Our capacities to receive and capabilities to use God’s blessing will increase as we pray. When we pray in Christ’s name and for His sake, we will realize the promise of John 15:7, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” Abiding in Christ plays an important role in the divine science of prayer.

In our prayers we should state our needs simply, for the Holy Spirit will translate our desires into the language of heaven and present them at the throne of grace with an eloquence that no human can know-yes, “with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26.)

To whom should we pray? “For through him [that is, Jesus] we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Ephesians 2:18. In other words, a correct form of prayer is by the Spirit through the Son unto the Father.

What does the Bible urge us to pray for? Christ said, “ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Luke 11:9-13.

In these few verses Christ used the word ask or its equivalent ten times. Asking is a positive condition for receiving the Holy Spirit. Those who have not enough interest to pray for the Spirit disqualify themselves to receive Him. No one would appreciate this wonderful gift if he received it without asking for it. He would imagine that he could use the Spirit instead of letting the Spirit use him. God has no reluctance to answer our prayers for the Holy Spirit. Christ’s death in a sense had one goal in mind: that His disciples might have the Holy Spirit in all His fullness. Christ gives us a measure of the Spirit to prompt us to pray for more of the Spirit. He wants us to desire a large infilling of the Spirit. This gift of gifts comprehends all other blessings.

It is not the quantity of our prayers that Heaven respects; nor our eloquence, no matter how flowery our language, nor our arguments, no matter how logically we present our requests, nor the time we spend in them. Rather it is our yearning, our heart cry for cleansing, and the sincerity that prompts our prayer that Heaven recognizes. God will never disappoint the soul that in sincerity and faith asks for the Holy Spirit.

He who prays with the Spirit, in the Spirit, by the Spirit, and for the Spirit is responding to the promptings of the Spirit. God answers such a prayer, for the Spirit Himself will present that request before the throne of God with groanings that cannot be uttered. God earnestly entreats us to pray, to pray without ceasing, and to pray especially for the out-pouring of the Spirit.


   
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