“Prayer; Gathering to Breathe God”, from L.Willows & Prayer Resources (Quotes on Prayer, God with us, Worship)

Knocking at the Door of Prayer

Prayer as always been a great passion of mine. I am grateful for a weekly prayer group. It is one of the greatest blessings in my life. We have been meeting together for years.  I remember that when I first started going, I would pray in the car on my way there, “Lord, help me learn to pray well in the group to glorify you. Please help me not to be self conscious, or afraid.” As I neared my destination I remember saying, “And, Lord- please guard me against the sin of pride, prepare my heart for prayer. May your Holy Spirit form the words.” Then, I remember parking the car, knocking on the door and feeling exhilarated as we sat down together quietly- ready to begin. The meetings have altered my heart and my life.

The door that we each knock on is always there wherever we are. It is God’s gift to us. As O. Hallesby says “To pray is nothing more involved than to open the door, giving Jesus access to our needs and permitting him to exercise his own power in dealing with them.”

The Lord’s kindness and patience is soft and merciful.

He hears the intentions of our hearts when we pray. My desire was to worship Him and glorify Him corporately.

We need to bring our hearts to the Lord during these times. Our journeys are each different but we all need the power of prayer in our lives. I have come to experience that there are different experiences of prayer in life. First prayer is in ongoing relationship with God each day.  Some agree that it can be practiced many times a day. Scripture says “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” Ephesians 6:18.  Prayer is also with a prayer partner or in triads. Cooperate prayer is praying with a small or large group. Matthew 18:19-20- Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

I believe that we need to gather together and worship.

When we gaze at the beauty and majesty of the Lord, our hearts melt.

We soften and become His; ready to meet with Him. The hardened parts that have battled the day or denied Him even for a moment, come forward and bend towards the Light of His Love. There, we begin Prayer. We remember who we are– His own, His Beloveds

Our hearts bow before the majesty of His Presence and seeing God’s beauty, we express our adoration and praise.  When we gathering before God, we stand before Holiness. In our prayer closets in our homes, in the intimate temple of His Love- we are with The Eternal One. The Lord Jesus is known and experienced  by the power of His Spirit through prayer. 

God is with us.

The Almighty God breathes his love, goodness, purpose and blessings into us through prayer.

Because of the joy and encouragement that prayer gives to me, I wanted to share some quotes that I found with you:

St. Augustine – Do you wish to pray in the temple? Pray in your own heart. But begin by being God’s temple, for he will listen to those who invoke him in his temple.

E.M. Bounds – Prayer is a wonderful, powerful; tool placed by Almighty God in the hands of His saints, which may be used to accomplish great purposes and to achieve unusual results. Prayer reaches to everything, takes in all things great and small which are promised by God to men. The only limits to prayer are the promises of God and his ability to fulfill those promises.

E. M. Bounds – Prayer is God’s life-giving breathe. God’s purposes move along the pathway made by prayer to their glorious designs. God’s purposes are always moving to their high and beneficial ends, but the movement is along the way marked by unceasing prayer. The breathe of prayer is from God.

E. M. Bounds -God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil.

John Bunyan – When you pray, rather let your heart be without words than words without heart.

Chrysostom, Saint Joan -Prayer is…a treasure undiminished, a mine never exhausted, a sky unobstructed by clouds, a haven unruffled by storm. It is the root, the fountain, ands the mother of a thousand blessings.

Billy Graham – Prayer is the rope that pulls God and man together. But it doesn’t pull God down to us: It pulls us up to him.

O. Hallesby -Prayer is so rich and so mobile that all we have to do when we pray is point to the persons of things to which we desire to have this power applied, and He, the Lord of this power, will direct the necessary power to the desired place at once.

O. Hallesby – To pray is nothing more involved than to open the door, giving Jesus access to our needs and permitting him to exercise his own power in dealing with them.

C. S. Lewis -Simply to say prayers is not to pray; otherwise a team of properly trained parrots would serve as well as men in prayer.

C. S. Lewis – It is quite useless knocking on the door of heaven for earthly comfort; it’s not the sort of comfort they supply there.

Martin Lloyd Jones – Everything we do in the Christian life is easier than prayer.

Martin Luther – To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.

Thomas Merton – And when God reveals himself to us in contemplation we must accept him as He comes to us, in His own obscurity, in His own silence, not interrupting Him with arguments or words, concentrations or activities that belong to the level of our own tedious and labored existence.

F. B. Meyer – The great tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer but unoffered prayer.

George Mueller – When once I am persuaded that a thing is right, I go on praying for it till the end comes. I never give up till the answer comes. The great fault of the children of God is that they do not continue in prayer. They do not persevere. If they desire anything for God’s glory, they should pray until they get it.”

Charles Spurgeon – Because God is the living God, he can hear; because he is a loving God, he will hear; because he is our covenant God, he had bound himself to hear.

Charles Spurgeon – Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the muscle of omnipotence.

Charles Spurgeon – On his knees, the believer is invincible.

Mother Teresa -Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of himself. Ask and seek, and your heart will grow big enough to receive him and keep him as your own.

Saint Teresa of Avila – Prayer doesn’t consist of thinking a great deal, but of loving a great deal.

John Vianney – The interior life is like a sea of love in which the soul is plunged and ism, and is, as it were, drowned in love. Just as a mother holds her child’s face in her hands to cover it with kisses, so does God hold the devout man.

© 2020 Linda Willows

Suggested Prayer Resources:

From L.Willowslinks for further reading on site on Prayer

The Power of Prayer, from R.A. Torrey (united prayer, worship, God who Loves)

Rejoice in Hope, Be Patient in Tribulation, Be Constant in Prayer by John Piper

Draw Near to God in Prayer: John Calvin on The Definition and Effectiveness of Prayer, by Dr. Joel R. Beeke

Draw Near to God Through Prayer; John Calvin’s “Rules of Prayer”

Prayer; Pouring to God through Christ, John Bunyan on Prayer

Rejoice in Hope, Be Patient in Tribulation, Be Constant in Prayer by John Piper

Conforming to God’s Holiness from Ligonier Ministries of RC Sproul

Is Anything Too Hard For The Lord? Sermon from C.H.Spurgeon, 1888 Metropolitan Tabernacle

Draw Near to God in Prayer: John Calvin on The Definition and Effectiveness of

Prayer, by Dr. Joel R. Beeke

Puritan Prayer, The Deeps

The Love of Jesus, Puritan Prayer

Praying in the Spirit, Martin Lloyd Jones

Eight Keys to Prayer by Marilee Pierce Dunker, Ambassador to World Vision

Praying in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, by John Walwoord

Praying in the Name of Jesus by O Hallesby

And So We Pray, Reconciliation

The Saint’s Happiness by Richard Sibbes

The Prayer of Worship and Adoration by J. Oswald Sanders

Praying the Lord’s Prayer from Tim Keller

Kingdom Centered Prayer from Tim Keller

Prayer Transforms us by God’s Presence by Ben Patterson (God’s Prayer Book)

Revival and the Holy Spirit from Martin Lloyd Jones

“Praying in The Spirit from Martin Lloyd-Jones”, by Jason Meyer (a Living Communion with God, Bold Prayer)

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How to Pray in The Spirit by Jason Meyer, Studies with Martin Lloyd-Jones

I spent five years immersing myself in the sermons of Martyn Lloyd-Jones. It was truly a transformative season in my life. What was the biggest takeaway? The answer may surprise you. He taught me how to pray.

“We must come face to face with our tendency to try to pray on our own.”

Those who really knew Lloyd-Jones will not find that answer surprising at all. His wife once said, “No one will ever understand my husband until they realize that he is first of all a man of prayer and then an evangelist” (Bethan Lloyd-Jones). In particular, Lloyd-Jones, as a man of prayer, taught me how to pray in the Holy Spirit.

My hunger for learning how to pray in the Spirit came from a perplexing problem. I read Ephesians 6:18, “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” This text really bothered me because I could parse the words and diagram the grammar, but I had this nagging sense that I was not experiencing the reality of it. Lloyd-Jones served as a mentor for me in making this verse a living reality. He led me on a three-stage guided tour of discovery: (1) what it is not, (2) what it is, and (3) how it is done.

What Praying in the Spirit Is Not

First, he helped me see what praying in the Spirit means by contrasting it with its polar opposite: praying in the flesh. Prayer in the power of the flesh relies upon human ability and effort to carry the prayer forward.

We all know what it is to feel deadness in prayer, difficulty in prayer, to be tongue-tied, with nothing to say, as it were, having to force ourselves to try. Well, to the extent that is true of us, we are not praying in the Spirit. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Living Water: Studies in John 4, 99)

How do we overcome this difficulty in prayer? Praying in the flesh calls upon human ability and effort to push past the difficulty. If we are tongue-tied in prayer, we may try to overcome that difficulty with a stream of many words. Jesus warned us against thinking we would be heard because we use many words (Matthew 6:7).

If we struggle with wanting to give up after a short time in prayer, we may focus upon how long we pray. Success in prayer does not depend upon how much time we can log in prayer. Sometimes people try to overcome deadness in prayer by focusing on how well we can pray. We subtly trust in having perfectly composed, doctrinally correct prayers that rely upon the right diction, cadence, language, emotion, or volume.

These attempts to push past the difficulty in the power of the flesh are attempts to imitate the liveliness that the Spirit gives in prayer.

The Spirit is a Spirit of life as well as truth, and the first thing that he always does is to make everything living and vital. And, of course, there is all the difference in the world between the life and the liveliness produced by the Spirit and the kind of artifact, the bright and breezy imitation, produced by people. (Living Water, 99)

If praying in the flesh is the counterfeit or imitation of praying in the Spirit, what is the genuine article? The second part of the guided tour was discovering what praying in the Spirit is.

What Praying in the Spirit Is

Here is the key difference: in the flesh, we are pushing the prayers forward, while in the Spirit, we feel caught up in the way the Spirit carries the prayer forward. Praying in the Spirit is experiencing the Spirit of life bringing prayer to life.

“Sometimes praying in the Spirit will not feel electrifying at all. It will feel like groaning.”

Praying in the Spirit means that the Spirit empowers the prayer and carries it to the Father in the name of Jesus. The prayer has a living quality characterized by warmth and freedom and a sense of exchange. We realize that we are in God’s presence speaking to God. The Spirit illuminates your mind, moves your heart, and grants a freedom of utterance and liberty of expression.
Lloyd-Jones frequently used stark contrasts to make his point. He did not often go back and nuance the contrast between praying in the flesh and praying in the Spirit. He did not plot different degrees of experience; he simply posed sharp polarities to help us see the difference between the two.

It is helpful to acknowledge that there are varying degrees of experience when it comes to praying in the Spirit. It does not feel like revival every time we pray in the Spirit. There are varying experiences of feeling carried along or pushed forward. Sometimes praying in the Spirit will not feel electrifying at all. It will feel like groaning. The Spirit helps us in our weakness and intercedes for us according to the will of God (Romans 8:26–27).

I remember going on a bike ride where there was a gradual incline for the first half and a gradual slope down for the second half. I sometimes think of that as the experiential difference between praying in the flesh and praying in the Spirit. Praying in the flesh feels like an upward climb in which we are having to power up the hill. Praying in the Spirit reflects the reality of the downward slope. Obviously, there are degrees of decline. But the basic awareness of a downhill energy and momentum are present in all of the different degrees of a downward slope.

When we pray in the Spirit, according to Lloyd-Jones, we experience being carried or driven in prayer to God by the Spirit, but how is it done?

How to Pray in the Spirit

Praying in the Spirit has three aspects: (1) admitting our inability, (2) enjoying the creation of a living communion with God, and (3) pleading the promises of God with boldness and assurance.

Step One: Admitting Our Inability to Pray

We should start with confession: we must admit our inability to pray as we ought. We must come face to face with our tendency to try to pray on our own. We start with the recognition that prayer is a spiritual activity, and the power of the flesh profits nothing at all. We should feel our dryness and difficulty and confess to him our dullness, lifelessness, and spiritual slowness and sluggishness (Living Water, 86).

But this step is not passive; it is the act of yielding ourselves to the Spirit. Confession leads to expectation and prayerful anticipation.

Step Two: Enjoying Living Communion with God

You are aware of a communion, a sharing, a give-and-take, if I may use such an expression. You are not dragging yourself along; you are not forcing the situation; you are not trying to make conversation with somebody whom you do not know. No, no! The Spirit of adoption in you brings you right into the presence of God, and it is a living act of fellowship and communion, vibrant with life. (Lloyd-Jones, The Christian Soldier, 100)

The place where you pray seems to be transformed. I start out praying in my living room, and suddenly I sense that I am in the throne room.

“The result of the Spirit’s work is that we bow before God as humbled children of God in awe of God.”

One of the key differences here between praying in the flesh and praying in the Spirit is that you don’t feel the need to rush to say anything when you pray in the Spirit. The living reality the Spirit creates is the awareness of God’s presence. Experiencing his presence will seem much more important than any petition you are going to make (Lloyd-Jones, The Christian Soldier, 82). But the Spirit will not lead you merely to rest in God’s presence in a passive way. There will be a holy boldness to plead the promises of God.

Step 3: Pleading with Holy Boldness

The result of the Spirit’s work is that we bow before God as humbled children of God in awe of God. We don’t bow before an unknown or far away god, and we don’t skip into God’s presence with breezy familiarity. We come with an awakened sense of intimacy and awe. The Spirit also breathes bold life into our prayers — a holy boldness that pleads the promises of God with God in the presence of God.

The beauty of this boldness is that it is a humble and holy boldness. There is no presumptuous sense of demand.

Do not claim, do not demand, let your requests be made known, let them come from your heart. God will understand. We have no right to demand even revival. Some Christians are tending to do so at the present time. Pray urgently, plead, use all the arguments, use all the promises; but do not demand, do not claim. Never put yourself into the position of saying, ‘If we but do this, then that must happen.’ God is a sovereign Lord, and these things are beyond our understanding. Never let the terminology of claiming or of demanding be used. (Lloyd-Jones, The Final Perseverance of the Saints, 155)

Don’t Quench the Spirit

Lloyd-Jones once said that the quickest way to quench the Spirit is to not obey an impulse to pray. This point is very, very personal to me, so let me tell you a story from my own experience.

“Lloyd-Jones once said that the quickest way to quench the Spirit is to not obey an impulse to pray.”

Once I was driving home from working at UPS. I worked the night shift during my doctoral days and never seemed to get enough sleep. I was driving home very early one morning, around 4:30, and falling asleep at the wheel. I tried everything to stay awake. I turned up the radio and tried to sing along. I even slapped myself. The next thing I knew, I woke up in my driveway. I was more than a little shaken. I didn’t know how I got there.

I walked inside the house now eerily wide awake, and as I walked into our bedroom I noticed the strangest thing: my wife was wide awake, too. She would normally be asleep, but instead, she was sitting up in bed waiting for me.

She said, “Hi, honey, how was your drive?”

I said, “It’s funny you should ask. I really struggled to stay awake on the drive home. In fact, I don’t know how I got here.”

She said, “Yeah I figured. . . . ”

“Okay,” I said, “please continue!”

“Well,” she said, “I woke up at about 4:30 very suddenly, and felt this intense prompting to pray. I figured you must be struggling on the road since that is around the time you normally come home. So, I prayed for you.”

I think I am still alive, and typing these words, because my wife did not quench the Spirit in that moment. She obeyed the Spirit’s prompting to pray. I hope this story gives you a greater sense of what is at stake in prayer. Our tendency to quench the Spirit is not a small and inconsequential problem. Let us give ourselves to the reality of praying in the Spirit and renounce the temptation to try and pray in our own strength. And let us, after Lloyd-Jones’s example, always obey every impulse to pray.

Jason Meyer (@WePreachChrist) is the pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church and associate professor of preaching at Bethlehem College & Seminary. He’s the author of Lloyd-Jones on the Christian Life: Doctrine and Life as Fuel and Fire. He and his wife, Cara, have four children.

Source: Desiring God.org (article April 30, 2018)

~ Link to more resources and articles on Prayer on the “Prayer, Breathing God Page” ~

“Praying in The Spirit”, by Dr. Michael A. Milton (what it is and why is it important)

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Praying in The Spirit: What is it and Why is it Important?

By Dr. Michael A. Milton

There are some doctrines that we see but we cannot see through them.1 The believer is often called upon to hold biblical truths in tension. We must be content to merely see through the glass dimly until we know even as we are known (1 Cor. 13:12). There are several biblical doctrines in this category. Praying in the Spirit is not one of them.

Praying in the Spirit is an indispensable part of the Christian life that has, sometimes, generated “more heat than light.” Opinions admittedly vary about the exact meaning of praying in the Spirit. There are assorted theological claims about how to “achieve” prayer in the Spirit as if the admonition is a skill to be acquired. It is not. It is a gift to be received, a life to be lived.

The Scriptures are clear: Praying in the Holy Spirit is approaching the throne of grace in humble and devout intercession and supplication entirely on God’s terms, not ours. Or, as one older Christian author, Jacob Gregory, put it so plainly: “No human can pray without divine help.” Prayer with divine help is praying in the Spirit.

What Do the Scriptures Say?

“No human can pray without divine help” seems to be a saying far too simple. We want more. We want to know what we must do to encourage the experience. Our contributing to the work of the Holy Spirit is as preposterous as presuming that praying in the Holy Spirit is an ecstatic experience to be cultivated. However, this phenomenon of “God can do it, but I must help Him along” is a wrong-headed but universal impulse of humanity to deal with God as we would with a mortal king. “I will do this, and so you will do that.” Such an error reveals, not necessarily an evil intent (haven’t we all thought that way at one time or another?), but rather a sad misunderstanding of God’s grace in Christ. “Praying in the Spirit” is altogether a divine activity that one appropriates through faith in Jesus Christ and in His finished work on the cross. Simple? Yes, and infinitely glorious.

I am reminded of Peggy Nunan’s line from her book, On Speaking Well:

Most of the important things you will ever say or hear in your life are composed of simple, good, sturdy words. ‘I love you. ‘It’s over.’ ‘It’s a boy.’ ‘We’re going to win.’ ‘He’s dead.’

Praying in the Holy Spirit is a simple, good, sturdy doctrine. But it is simply amazing. There are numerous passages in both the Old Testament and the New addressing prayers made in the power of the Spirit. The great E.M. Bounds (1835-1913), a Methodist Episcopal pastor who “majored” in the lifelong study of the biblical doctrine of prayer, wrote of one such example concerning Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:

“Her desires were too intense for articulation. She poured out her soul in prayer before the Lord.” Insuperable natural difficulties were in the way, but she “multiplied her praying,” as the passage means, till her God-lightened heart and her bright face recorded the answer to her prayers, and Samuel was hers by a conscious faith and a nation was restored by faith.

Hannah’s tears were like saltwater sacraments that spoke of a deep, unseen desire. This longing was lifted to God with God’s help. She was praying in God’s power, not her own. While there is no specific wording, “praying in the Spirit,” the narrative (and narrative is the chief literary genre in the Old Covenant text) clearly demonstrates that both Hannah and her son were believers who prayed with “divine help.” This is praying in the Spirit.

The New Testament is characterized, not only by narrative but “didactic” literature. That is, the New Testament writers, particularly the Lord Jesus and His Apostles, speak or write in order to teach: to communicate God’s revealed truth to humankind. Within this primary genre in the New Testament, we can better isolate and examine exact teaching on the subject of praying in the Holy Spirit. Here are but a few selections that teach “prayer with divine help.”

5 Bible Verses about Praying with Divine Help

  • “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Galatians 5:16,17 ESV).
  • “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
  • “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20).
  • “Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).
  • “What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also” (1 Corinthians 14:15).

We say again: these are but samples of the doctrine of praying in the Spirit. Each glorious passage is worthy of its own careful consideration. The passages are mysterious only in the sense that all truth about the grace and condescending love of God is incomprehensible to mere mortals, but the teaching therein is plain and accessible. The passages are like the proleptic pods of Red Winter Wheat filled with life but buried beneath so much snow in a Kansas field.

One sees a frozen field and says, “nothing good can ever grow there!” Ah, but wait for spring and you will see that the very field that appeared barren was pulsating with invisible power. The springtime fields in Kansas become a landscape of golden grains swaying in the breeze. So, too, the biblical teaching about “praying in the Spirit” is a seed hidden within those who trust in Christ Jesus. We see the dear lady in the nursing home, and we might be tempted to think, “How powerless the poor soul is!” But you could not be more wrong. As the hidden seeds of wheat burst forth in warm sun of the spring, so, too, does the Holy Spirit move within her to inspire her prayers, to perfect her prayers, and bring pain to prayer and prayer to providence and providence to praise! What a golden harvest from such a tiny vessel! These Scriptures about praying in the Spirit burst forth from the pages of the Bible to grow into golden grains of life for those wise farmers of the Word, for those who pray, not in the flesh, but in the Spirit.

Whether in narrative (e.g., Acts 4:41) or in didactic (“teaching”) expression, (e.g., Ephesians 6:18), the Old and New Testament demonstrates that praying in the Spirit happens when we come to Almighty God in the name of Jesus Christ and according to God’s revealed will.

How to Pray in the Spirit

I risk repetition here, but we must not leave any room for the ever-present human tendency to add or take away from the plain truth of Scripture. To pray in the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, and worship in the Spirit (“in Spirit and in truth,” John 4:24) is to come before the Lord according to His appointed means—that is through the One whom the Spirit magnifies, the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:26-27), depending on His revealed Word and pleading as a lesser creature to our glorious Creator.

The Holy Spirit also takes our prayers and perfects them before the Almighty (e.g., Romans 8:26). The Holy Spirit prays within us when we cannot utter a word (again, Romans 8:26). To pray in the Holy Spirit is to also build unity in the body of Christ. When you are praying in submission to the Lord God and His Christ, the Holy Spirit within you will testify to Himself in His Word, in your prayers, and even in those other believers praying with you. These things and so much more are ignited by the dynamite of praying in the Spirit.

What Praying in the Spirit is Not

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, the Welshman who was the Queen’s surgeon-turned-King’s Ambassador, used a large segment of his teaching at Westminster Chapel, London on praying in the Holy Spirit by demonstrating, from Scripture, what it is not.2,3 I cannot take up as much space as Dr. Lloyd-Jones did (you can listen to the excellent teaching supplied in the footnote), but I affirm from the Word of God (and with “the Doctor”) that praying in the Spirit is not an act of mere emotion. One cannot be “excited into praying in the Spirit.” Such a divine arrangement cannot be held captive to mortal sensations. Alternatively, to pray in the Spirit is to undoubtedly pray with one’s whole being, “head and heart.” Emotion, in this case, is an effect of praying in the Spirit rather than the cause. Thus, ecstatic utterance or other physical manifestations are not the seals of authenticity for praying in the Spirit any more than Stoicism is a trusted sign of emotional poise in the Christian life.4 Let me give an example.

I know of an elderly Christian man who lives alone. This unassuming and kind man is a retired banker, a quiet and reserved person by nature. An Anglican, this gentleman reads the “daily office” from the Book of Common Prayer. He reads Old Testament, New Testament, and a Psalm. He prays the Collect of the Day (a special written prayer, mostly by Thomas Cranmer [1489-1556] for the respective seasons of the Church, assembled in the Book of Common Prayer). As he bows before the Lord and prays, using these ancient forms, is this man somehow unable to pray in the Spirit? Of course not. He may or may not be praying in the Holy Spirit (I know him and believe that he most certainly is). So, praying in the Spirit is not demonstrated, necessarily, by visible excitement, but by faith in God’s Word and God’s will, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God magnifies the Son of God and His will for His lambs: you and me.

Why Does Praying in the Spirit Matter?

Praying in the Spirit is vital to our sanctification (growth in grace and knowledge of Christ and in our ethical response to God in every area of life). Moreover, praying in the Holy Spirit is God’s glorious means of advancing His will on earth as it is in heaven. The late J. Oswald Sanders (1902-1992) of New Zealand pointed to the believer’s blessing of praying in the Spirit in his classic book, Prayer Power Unlimited:

“Here is the secret of prevailing prayer, to pray under a direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit, whose petitions for us and through us are always according to the Divine purpose, and hence certain of answer.”

Praying in the Spirit cultivates a vital relationship with our resurrected and reigning Lord Jesus Christ. When you come to see Christ face-to-face, He will be the One you have grown to love throughout all of the days of your life. To pray in the Spirit is to open your life to the filling of the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ. Prayer in the Spirit changes us from the inside out and makes us ready and willing to do God’s will.

Who Can Pray in the Spirit?

I want to be very encouraging to all of you who are reading this. Each and every one of you may come to God and pray in the Holy Spirit. There are no tricks, cryptic lingo, and no insider information you have to acquire. Repent of self and all of the sinful consequences of trust in “the flesh,” and receive Jesus Christ by faith. The Spirit of God will come into you and make His residence in you. You become a veritable “temple” of the living God. Then, you will have a new God-implanted desire to follow Him: in worship, witness, fellowship, and in prayer. Prayer in the Spirit is the “natural” next-step in following Jesus as Lord and Savior.

There once was a believer who brought his burden to God in prayer. Twice this man had been engaged to be married and twice he had lost his fiancée to an illness. Joseph Scriven (1819-1886) had a promising career in music after graduating from Trinity College in Dublin. The losses that he suffered caused him to go to Canada to take up a life of a teacher and educator. But the grief was overwhelming. Indeed, on top of all of this, his mother in Ireland missed him so very much. Joseph Scriven died August 10, 1866; it remains unclear whether the poor man drowned by accident. However, his family, the Christian community that surrounded him, and all those who loved and cared for him could take comfort in the words that he wrote, words that were a veritable prayer from his heart. You see, even though this poor man suffered in silence and brought his brief to God, he composed a prayer that became a hymn. You may know that hymn very well: What a Friend We Have in Jesus.

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Carry everything to God in prayer. Do so by His power and according to His will. If you do that, you will be praying in the Spirit. O that the golden grains of revival will move in the gentle breeze of the Spirit’s presence. Such a refreshing time of renewal is available to you, your local Christian community, and even to a nation of believers as the veiled, prevailing seed of prayer bursts forth to accomplish what we cannot.


author image for Michael MiltonMichael A. Milton, PhD (University of Wales; MPA, UNC Chapel Hill; MDiv, Knox Seminary), Dr. Milton is a retired seminary chancellor and currently serves as the James Ragsdale Chair of Missions at Erskine Theological Seminary. He is the President of Faith for Living and the D. James Kennedy Institute a long-time Presbyterian minister, and Chaplain (Colonel) USA-R. Dr. Milton is the author of more than thirty books and a musician with five albums released. Mike and his wife, Mae, reside in North Carolina.
Notes

1. Hans Urs Von Balthasar (1905-1988), the remarkable Swiss theologian said as much in his parish notes on the phrases of the Apostles Creed, collected into the book, Credo. I am indebted for his insights on the mystical nexus between revelation and mystery. This preeminent Roman Catholic priest and doctor of the Church reminds us of the reality of Deuteronomy 29:29: The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (English Standard Version of the Holy Bible.
2. See more insight into this seminal figure in twentieth-century evangelicalism, see Christopher Catherwood, Martyn Lloyd-Jones: His Life and Relevance for the 21st Century (Crossway, 2015); and Iain Hamish Murray, The Life of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, 1899-1981 (Banner of Truth Trust, 2013).
3. See, e.g., Praying in The Spirit (Westminster Chapel, London), accessed December 3, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtpuOuO01Ac#action=share.
4. For a Pentecostal view on Praying in the Spirit, see Dr. Steven J. Land in his fine scholarly article, “Praying in the Spirit: A Pentecostal Perspective.”,” Pentecostal Movements as an Ecumenical Challenge, 1996, 85–93
Sources Consulted

Carson, D. A. “Praying with Paul.” Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic (2014).
Miller, Paul E. A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2017.
Murray, Andrew. “Praying in the Spirit.” Alliance Weekly (1940): 597.
Sanchez, Leopoldo A. “Praying to God the Father in Spirit: Reclaiming the Church’s Participation in the Son’s Prayer Life.” Concordia Journal 32, no. 3 (2006): 274.
Whitney, Donald S. Praying the Bible. Crossway, 2015.
“How to Pray in the Holy Spirit.” Desiring God. Last modified April 30, 2018. Accessed December 3, 2018. https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-to-pray-in-the-holy-spirit.
“Learning to Pray in the Spirit and the Word, Part 1.” Desiring God. Last modified December 31, 2000. Accessed January 2, 2019. https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/learning-to-pray-in-the-spirit-and-the-word-part-1.

Source: Crosswalk.com

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