2001-01-22 - The Holy Spirit and Prayer
Jude 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit.
In the above verse it is noted that those to whom Paul was writing prayed in the Holy Spirit. The implication is that if Paul mentioned this in his letter, and did not condemn it, then we also should pray in the Holy Spirit. The Bible has a lot to say about the Spirit and prayer. In Galatians 4:6 the Spirit is said to pray in the hearts of believers, "Abba, Father."
The Spirit is also said to help our weaknesses in prayer. Romans 8:26, 27 says that we don't even know how to pray ourselves, but rather the Spirit makes intercession for us. "And in the same way 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 … " In addition, there is mentioned "the Spirit of grace and of supplication," in Zechariah 12:10.
The New Testament clearly points to a special link between the Holy Spirit and the prayers of the children of God. The limitations that Paul mentions in the Romans 8 passage are not our failure to pray, but rather our inability to know how to pray when we do pray. We are prone to pray for things that would harm us, or for the removal of things that we need. We must learn what Christ knew when He prayed, "yet not My will, but Thine be done." Luke 22:42
The Spirit not only guides us in our hearts when we pray, but actually presents our prayers to the Father in such a way as they are heard and answered. So we offer our prayers to God under the ministry of the Holy Spirit and we trust the Spirit's intercession on our behalf. This is what Paul means, in Jude 20, by praying in the Spirit.
There is, for us, a great freedom in prayer. We may not know how to pray as we should, but our deficiencies are more than made up through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Resting in the activity of the Holy Spirit in our prayers is much like resting in Christ for forgiveness from sin. We do both by faith. We trust that the Spirit when interceding, is better for us, than if we were left to pray in our own strength. It is a great blessing that we are not left to our own strength in prayer or in any other aspect of the Christian life. God is very gracious to us and helps us in those areas where we have need. We have seen that Scripture says that this is also true in prayer.
"A praying man can never be very miserable, whatever his condition be, for he has the ear of God; the Spirit within to indite, a Friend in heaven to present, and God himself to receive his desires as a Father. It is a mercy to pray, even though I never receive the mercy prayed for." William Bridge
Soli Deo Gloria,