Jesus tells us we don’t pray as we ought to at the very beginning of his ministry (Matt 6:5-18). But, thanks to Pentecost and the descending of the Holy Spirit, we now have direct access to the Father through the Spirit who is continually interceding on our behalf. (Romans 8:26)
People pray all of the time. We pray for little things, we pray for big things, we pray when people are sick, we pray when we don’t have enough money, we pray when we feel we need something and God doesn’t seem to be providing.
“The Lords Prayer” is a simple version of trusting and relying on God for the bigger things. And it’s quoted daily and weekly by different groups of people.
Are you praying that prayer for ritual? Are you praying in the Spirit? Are you meaning every word as you say it? Do you even know what that prayer means?
What does praying in the Spirit look like?
Is it in tongues? Is it quietly in a closet where no one can see? Is it knelt down in mass together for meaningless repetition of Scripture references turned into prayers?
Praying as led by the Spirit is simply a quiet heart before God, and open ears ready to listen as He moves in your heart. And it can be in any setting you’re apart of, whether you’re in a prayer group, or in church, your heart and mind are open to pray as the Spirit directs. While everyone else is chattering on in tongues, or while everyone else is ritualistically repeating words written over 500 years ago, even in the middle of a crowded sidewalk, you can stop and pray as the Spirit leads.
People say, “The Holy Spirit is always with us, we don’t have to ‘invite’ him to join us.” But this is not true. Inviting the Holy Spirit to join you is an intimate experience that invites people to encounter God. Being entirely directed by the Holy Spirit gives God room to move as He wills, and when God is on the move, hearts are changed, lives are reached, needs are met.
The Church of Acts had everything in common, because the Holy Spirit was in their midst and they were open and willing to be used by God, to worship God, to spread the message of Jesus Christ, and to help each other out as they had need.
The modern church lacks so many of these essential characteristics. Satan got ahold of the church far too early into the game, and it took 1500 years for God to change the face of the Church, through Martin Luther, who became a catalyst for the Holy Spirit to get back into the doors.
Sadly, there was already a mindset established, and so many denominations have yet to break free from the “roots” of traditionalism to fully embrace God as He desired us to. As the Early Church did.
When the Holy Spirit shows up, there is a definite Change in the atmosphere. The presence of God is sweet, and refreshing, like living water to soothe the soul. The air is fresh, you can smell the sweetness of heaven. Those with the gift of Discerning Spirits can sense the presence of Angels in the congregation.
The Holy Spirit can show up anywhere. Anytime. His presence is undeniable. When Jesus said His sheep know His voice, it’s true. Especially when the Believers are pressing in together in prayer, entirely focused on Him, the Holy Spirit is undeniably in the midst.
Sadly, the Flesh can wrestle against the foreign voice, and impose it’s own will over the Spirit. (Genesis 32:22-32) We’re taught to question the things we supernaturally sense, hear and feel, with good reason! (I John 4:1) Look at the Charismatic branches of Christianity! The “slain in the Spirit”, the “drunk on the Spirit”, mass babbling on in tongues, and false prophecy is not of God.
However, when you KNOW it is God moving, it is so important to listen.
I have personally witnessed in my Spirit when people have wrestled against the Holy Spirit and imposed their own Will over church. I’ve been called to intercede on behalf of pastors, when God wanted to change the sermon last minute, or do something different in service– and the pastors missed it. I even stopped going to a church because of this, and God led me to a different place, one that I most certainly needed during that time in my life.
So how do we pray as led by the Spirit when so many different perspectives of Prayer and the Holy Spirit exist?
It’s simple. Just listen. Give your heart directly to God, and seek His voice. And then be willing to pray as He directs.
Even if it means you’re praying against what you would wish for. While everyone else in the room is praying for healing, and stumbling over their words, and you know you’re supposed to pray that God will provide for the people who are going to be left behind. ((I’ve done this. It is heartbreaking, but praying for God’s Will includes praying for the hard things.))
There are other times when we can get wrapped up in praying and focusing in on the things that are extremely important to us, and God has already done them!
A great example of this kind of praying is when the Believers are gathered together petitioning on behalf of Peter, and Peter was let out of prison by an Angel, and was at the door knocking, and they were so wrapped up in their prayers and petitions they didn’t even believe the servant girl when she said, “Peter is here, guys…..” (Acts 12:1-19)
We don’t know the mind of God. We can’t see the bigger picture. The Holy Spirit guides us in our weaknesses, even our weakness in prayer and not knowing what or how to pray.
There is a time to pray in tongues. I pray in tongues from time to time.
There is a time to be still before God. There is a time to petition Him with all of your heart.
Jesus told us to pray for His Will. And His Will is most important.
To pray for His provision. To pray for His forgiveness.
To pray for His Kingdom to grow.
And thanks to the Holy Spirit, we have a helper who can guide us into deeper, stronger relationship with God, to have glimpses of the Mind of God, in order to pray for the things we need, the things He wants for us, and the things we know those around us need. (Luke 24:45; John 14:16-18; Romans 8:2-6)
The veil has been removed, the Temple curtain torn in two. We have access to GOD! Why would you not take advantage of that, and draw into a deeper, personal, meaningful relationship with Him, by the overwhelming and glorious presence of the Holy Spirit?
If you are His, and He is in you, the Spirit is with you, and the Spirit will not guide you wrong. Listen. Quiet your heart before God, and give Him the ability to direct. To speak. To move in your heart in a way you’ve never known before.
The Lord is in the silence. (I Kings 19:1-15) This is why Fasting is so important. To give up of yourself and your needs to press into an intimate and quiet time with God. Honing in completely on the Voice of the Shepherd.
You do not always need to fast to have an intimate moment with God, however, fasting is powerful and necessary.
When driving out demons one time, the disciples went to Jesus and asked why the demons wouldn’t leave, and Jesus said some only come out through prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:14-29)
Why do you think that would be?
Because when you wrestle against spiritual warfare, Jesus Christ is the only way out. Pressing into Christ without distraction, or futile satisfaction is imperative to overcome. We can fulfill our bodies needs and desires, but only God can satisfy our spirit.
Why would you NOT give that part of yourself to Him?
The beautiful thing about God, He will not establish in your life anything outside of Himself and His word that has been passed down since the Early Church so that you may see and know His excellent works, know His will, and know the depths, height, love and power that He desires to have over your life.
We were created for His glory. Giving of yourself entirely to Him is the best sacrifice you can make, after the Sacrifice Jesus Christ made of Himself for you.