Sunday, August 1, 2010

Seven Steps to Prayer that Brings Results Part 3

1.)Recognize that God is Real and Believe in his word. this is the continuation of the Seven Steps to Prayer that Brings Results Part1.

2.)Praying in the Name of JESUS Part 2

This is the 3rd steps to Seven Steps to Prayer that Brings Results

3)  Learn To Pray in The Spirit

Jude 1:20 (NIV) But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.

            What Is “Praying in the Spirit?”

The best brief statement I have found of what it means to pray in the Holy Spirit goes like this: It means “so to pray that the Holy Spirit is the moving and guiding power.”The key words there are “moving” and “guiding.” In other words, when you pray in the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God is “moving” you to pray. That is, he is the one who motivates and enables and energizes your prayer. And when you pray in the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God is “guiding” how you pray and what you pray for. So, to pray in the Holy Spirit is to be moved and guided by the Holy Spirit in prayer. We pray by his power and according to his direction.

  The Power of the Spirit

Let’s see where this interpretation of praying in the Holy Spirit comes from in the Bible. The first thing to notice is the very close parallel passage in Ephesians 6:18, where Paul says, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit.” The reason this is important is that it shows that “praying in the Spirit” is not a special form of prayer – like speaking in tongues. But  tongues is just one part of praying in the spirit.  Paul says in Ephesians 6:18 that we should pray “at all times” in the Spirit. In other words, all prayer should be “in the Spirit.” Praying in the Holy Spirit is not one form among several. It is the way all prayer is to be offered.

The second thing to see is the parallel in Romans 8:26 where Paul says, “The Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Here it is plain that one thing the Holy Spirit does for us is help our weakness when we need to pray but can’t the way we should. So it is natural to take “praying in the Holy Spirit” to mean praying with the help of the Holy Spirit – with the strength and enablement of the Spirit to make up for our weakness.

A third parallel would be Romans 8:15-16 where Paul says, “You have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.” The point here is that the Spirit of God helps us have assurance that we are children of God by causing us to cry out from the heart (to pray!), “Abba, Father.” In other words, the Spirit moves our prayers. He motivates, enables and energizes our prayers. That’s a key part of what “praying in the Holy Spirit” means.
            The Guidance of the Spirit
The other part of what it means to pray in the Holy Spirit is that when we do so, our prayers are not only “moved” by the Spirit, but also “guided” by the Spirit. This is no surprise, because if the Holy Spirit is prompting and enabling and energizing our prayers, it would natural to think that he does so in a way that accords with his nature and his Word. We would not want to say, The Spirit moves our prayers, but they are not according to God’s will. If the Spirit is moving us to pray, then he would move us according to his will and Word.

So praying in the Holy Spirit would mean not only experiencing the power of the Spirit to help us pray when we are weak, but also experiencing the guidance of the Spirit to help us when we are foolish or confused or selfish. For example, James 4:3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” 
             How Do I Pray in the Holy Spirit?

So now the question is the practical one: How do you pray in the Holy Spirit? Don’t fail to see how utterly unusual it is to be told to do something by the power and guidance of another. It is God telling me to do it – pray! And yet telling me that it is a work of the Holy Spirit when I do it. It is just like other things in the Christian life: Galatians 5:16, “Walk by the Spirit.” Romans 8:13, “Put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:3, “Say Jesus is Lord by the Spirit.” Philippians 3:3, “Worship by the Spirit.” In all these things we are supposed to do something. But we are to do them in a way that it is the Spirit who is doing them through us.

This is the way human life is, since God is sovereign and we are responsible. We act. We are responsible to act. But God is the decisive actor. Our action is dependent. So when we are told to “walk” (Galatians 5:16), or fight sin (Romans 8:16), or confess the Lordship of Jesus (1 Corinthians 12:3), or worship (Philippians 3:3), or pray (Jude 1:20), we are told to do it “in the Holy Spirit.”You do it so that it is the Holy Spirit who is doing it in and through you.

So how do I pray so that it is really the Holy Spirit prompting and guiding the prayer?

            Trusting God to Give His Spirit

I think there are two basic answers. The first is faith. We pray “in the Holy Spirit” when we take our stand on the cross of Christ (which purchased all divine help) and trust God for his help by the Spirit. In other words, when you admit that without the help of the Spirit you cannot pray as you ought, and then you consciously depend on the Spirit to help you pray, then you are praying “in the Holy Spirit.” So the first answer to the question, How?, is by faith – by trusting God to give you the Holy Spirit to help you pray.

You can see this from the New Testament in several ways (see, for example, Galatians 3:1-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). One is that in Philippians 3:3 it says, “We worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.” Here, worshipping “in the Spirit of God” is explained by “put no confidence in the flesh.” I think that means, instead we put confidence in the Spirit, that is, in God’s blood-bought mercy to help us worship as we ought by his Spirit. So I take it that the way to “pray in the Holy Spirit” is the same as the way to worship “in the Spirit of God,” namely, by not putting any confidence in what we can do in our own nature, but instead looking away from our own resources and trusting in the mercy of God to help us pray by his Spirit.

That is what we should do this year in all our praying. Trust God for the help we need to pray. When you are too weak or too confused or too depressed or too angry or too dull to pray, at that moment do not assume that you can’t pray. Instead, consciously look away from yourself to Christ and to the mercy of God in Christ, and trust him to help you – even if it is only to produce groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26). Learn to distrust yourself and to trust God in prayer. Learn that without him you can do nothing and cast yourself on him at all times for all you need in order to pray.
            Let Your Prayers Be Shaped by God’s Word
The other answer to the question of how to pray “in the Holy Spirit” is to bring all your praying into conformity to the Word of God which the Spirit inspired (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Right here is where God’s call to be in the Word every day and his call to pray at all times in the Spirit become intertwined. If you live in the Word of God, meditating on it day and night by reading it every day and memorizing portions to carry with you all day and savoring them hour by hour, then your prayers will be shaped by the Word. Which means they will be shaped by the Spirit. And that is what it means to pray “in the Holy Spirit.” Not only to be moved by the Spirit in prayer, but to be guided by the Spirit in prayer. And since this is something we are called to do (“pray in the Holy Spirit”), our role is to take what we know about the Spirit’s will from the Word and saturate our prayers with it.

Keep Yourselves in the Love of God

 Keep yourselves in the love of God by praying in the Holy Spirit. That is, pray continually by banking on the Spirit’s help and by living in the Spirit’s word in the Bible. Stay in the Bible and stay in prayer, and look away continually from your own resources to the infinite and merciful resources of God in Christ.

To be in the Word rightly is to be in prayer. And when faith and the Word shape prayer, we are praying in the Holy Spirit. And when we pray in the Holy Spirit, we keep ourselves in the love of God. And there every blessing in heaven will be ours.

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