How to Pray as the Spirit Leads

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.

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A Letter to God

Dear God, it’s me.

I don’t know if you remember who I am. But I remember you.

I’ve kind of fallen back, and as I’ve fallen, found my faith gone slack.

I’m trying to find who I am, out of who I used to be.

Times have changed. I’m divorced, but I’m still a parent, and I’m about to be a bride again.

I’m afraid of your grace, and your judgement. Trying to find your plan in all of this– it isn’t easy to set aside all that I’ve been taught, and trust you.

I want to trust you, but every time I do, something seems to go wrong. Do I do it?

I’ve not been looking for you, while I’m finding myself. I don’t know what’s wrong with my failing heart, losing hold of everything I love.

Motivation, desire…. I fade slowly into nothing. The corner of the room is right where I fit best, self-inflicted woes to bear my scars out loud.

This is not who I was, and it’s not who I want to be– help change me to who I am meant to be. Because all I know is I want more than this hollowed shell I’m existing in.

Consume me. Make me yours.

Hope For Humanity

The world cried out for help,
Yet it’s citizens ignored the yelp.
The rivers ran red, dirt stained with blood.
Every creature gasping for air in the flood.

Precious little could be done to save humanity.
Each citizen died with a desperate grasp on vanity.

Safety collapsed in fractured pieces.
Splintering hope in a returning Jesus.
And yet they still held tight to their faith.
Until silently they let it finally give way.

We are not abandoned, we’re simply failing ourselves.
Leaving cracking bibles to wither on the shelves.
Ignoring the threats sent to our front doors.
A black cloud arising taking people in scores.

Defy the Rules and stand up for what is True.
Don’t let the seething fear overcome you.
Hand in hand with Humanity take your mark.
Aim at the atrocity which threatens our Home.
Every race and every color, so nobody stands alone.

Welcome the weary to your warmly lit shore.
Give the helpless the Christ they’re looking for.
Open your hearts to those we have willingly failed,
From desolate, darkened land these people have sailed.

Be the Hope to our broken Humanity.
Set aside this racial Vanity.
For yours is the Light they need shining through.
Remember this land wasn’t given just for you.

Church Hunting

It seems the worst thing a person could put themselves through, is the experience of church hunting.  Finding a place to call “Home”, and a church “Family” to be apart of.

Several things that stand out as you walk into a church, is the interior.
Where are your children going to be during service?   Is it easy to find?  How many hallways do you have to wind through before you find it?
Where are the restrooms?
Is there carpet?  Is there concrete?
Will your expensive cup of hot coffee have to cool in the car while you sit through over an hour of service?

The next thing people note, are the people.
They look friendly, but are they going to talk to you?  Is the church even small enough to know when there are guests?
Will the Greeters be the only people who make your acquaintance?  Will they care if you come back next Sunday?
Are you going to meet somebody genuinely interested in who you and your family are?
Will the person who told you you can’t have your coffee in service be the only person who reaches out to you?

And then you sit down, and service starts.
Why do churches spend so much money on a sound system, when no one knows how to use it?
Either the acoustics are too loud, or the sound is muddy, or you can’t hear the vocals…..
People around you worship God, oblivious to you and who you are.  Wrapped up in their moment– not even realizing you’re there for the first time.
Never taking the moment afterward to reach into your Life.

People don’t go to church to sit through service.  They go to find people who will connect with them and help them find the things they are looking for.
They come in, wanting to be poured into, and leave empty.
When the emptiness continues, time after time, eventually they stop trying to find something new.  They stop going altogether.

The “greeting” comes around.  Your hand might be shaken, you might be nodded at.

And then the pastor gets up.

Now, going into a non-denominational church presents several problems.

1) The pastor is waaaaay too Charismatic, and you sit through what feels like a televangelist service.  It includes prophetic “messages”, or escatology and “the end is upon us!”
((Which I believe is highly possible….. but not quite the same as they do))

2) The pastor starts mistranslating scripture, taking things out of context and pushing modern ideology instead of sound theology held strong through the ages.

3) The pastor goes into political moments and asks for the wrath of God to fall on our Nation’s leaders.  Also not biblical.

4) Prosperity preaching.

Non-denominational churches seem like they all spring out of the Pentecostal movement.  Where are the Spirit-led, Baptist background churches with sound theology, but openness to the Gifts?

5) Universalism

At any rate, it’s so hard to find what you’re looking for, when there are so many options….  and you’re tired of looking.

I’m tired of looking.
I’m tired of going to church, never being talked to.
I’m tired of going to church and only ever being talked to by the guy who tells you you can’t have your coffee in service.

The lack of friends in my Foresaken home in the High Plains becomes even more than obvious as our second child prepares to come into the world and we lack EVERYTHING for a little girl, because the first was a boy.

The lack of a church Family with people we can talk to as our life stands on the balance of Change, is also highly frustrating.
Man was not intended to be alone.  Even Jesus surrounded himself with friends.

Jesus was highly extroverted.  He was a natural people person and confident in who he was.
Unfortunately, mankind is not at all like Jesus.  And you walk into a new church and walk out of a new church still waiting to be reached into.

Three Wisemen In Search Of A King

Do you know, the Wisemen did not find Jesus until “the Child” was about two and a half/three years old?
They’d been in pursuit of the star for a really, REALLY long time before they made it to the King of Kings.
On top of that, they /followed/ this star.
These Wisemen were magicians ((magi is short for the word we translate into “Magician”)).
In bible times that meant that they were stargazers. They studied the heavens and kept continual watch over what was going on in the night sky.
They could tell you everytime a star moved, everytime a star vanished, how the planets moved, charted eclipses, watched the moon phases… and they probably figured out the earth was round before Galileo. But anyway.
So these wisemen one day notice something really special happening on the heavens. A star has appeared, and it’s greater than all of the other ones.
They get together, discuss it, and search to find out what it means.
Prophecy after prophecy is uncovered and suddenly!!

……………..

……………..

……..They find it!!

A King is born, peace on earth, Angels sing.
They chart the skies, buy gifts and set out to follow this star.

And they follow it.

…..and follow it.

…..and follow it…….

One of them turns to the other and asks, “Is it just me or does that star keep moving?”
They agree it is, slightly frustrated I’m sure…. but they keep following.

Imagine what it must have been like traveling for two years, following a star, in search for a baby king?
Can you grasp the concept of what people might have thought of them?
But they PURSUED despite the desert, the heat, the winter… until their faith was rewarded and they found the toddler, and his parents in a small house, living as a quiet family, raising the Savior of the World.

How many of you would suffer two years of travel and ridicule in pursuit of Christ?
They stopped in to King Herod, thinking that Herod might know of a baby prince. When Herod did not, they kept looking…

…and when they found Him, they rejoiced together and declared the King of Kings had come to save the world, and then they went back to their home lands.

Funny end to that story.
Pursuit for two years, and then they go home.What happened to them is a mystery left to the veil.

But what about you?
When you connect with the awaited Christ, what will you do about it?
And if you already have…. are you telling everyone?