“Pray in the Spirit”
(This is one “varieties of tongues” available to every believer in Jesus).
Not every gift of God is for building up the body of Christ – there is one that is specifically for building YOU up. Its one of the variety of tongues called “praying in the Spirit”.
The first time I played golf was in Greenville, Kentucky. Thankfully I played with really good friends who didn’t care how good I was. I borrowed a friends clubs – and the club heads were WOODEN! It was horrible.
No matter how strong I was or how hard I swung the clubs, I literally did not have what it took to hit a single ball – in the air – straight ahead – and make it land in the fairway. That’s the goal – keep it in the fairway – keep it out of the woods – keep it out of the tall grass – keep it out of the sand/bunkers.
Slow – steady – straight ahead – … get it in the hole with as few swings as possible.
I think I hit every single drive that day into the woods or water. I’m glad I kept playing. I’m glad I got good clubs. I’m glad I got a coach. I’m glad I started reading golf magazines and books. I’m glad I started watching videos. I’m glad I kept swinging.
You know – Every single one of us has massive limitations. We all have weaknesses. All of us make mistakes. All of us make poor choices. All of us say things we regret. All of us under-react at times and all of us over-react at times. No one is able to keep things in the “fairway” on every shot.
Also – many of us live in the bunkers and woods.
This is why strategic Spiritual Warfare is so important. None of us battle against people – yet we all get in the woods over and over because of failures we make with our emotions and relationships.
As I’m preparing for this weekend’s message on Spiritual Warfare – I’m thanking the Lord for all of the ways He equips me and builds me up. He gives us a list of weapons to fight with in Ephesians 6 – one of the weapons is “Praying in the Spirit”.
I spent most of my life wondering “what is this? How do I do it? Is this the same thing as speaking in tongues? How do I do it?”
I can’t tell you how many times I tried to do this in my private prayer life – and walked away telling myself, “you’re making this up … it’s not real”.
What i didn’t understand is that it’s all by faith – and submitting my mouth to God. It honestly took me years to quit arguing in my mind and just trust God.
Today, I believe praying in the spirit is one of the most powerful weapons we have in spiritual warfare – and it’s one of the most controversial and misunderstood weapons as well.
Read these verses out loud:
1. Jude 1:20-21
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God.”
Ask God to reveal to you what this means. Say this outloud, “Father, what does it mean for me to pray in the Holy Spirit? Show me what this means to “build myself up in my most holy faith”. How is building myself up related to “praying in the Holy Spirit?”
2. Ephesians 6:16-17
“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”
Again, ask God to reveal to you what this means. Say this out loud, “Father show me how to “Pray at all times in the Spirit.” What does it mean to keep prayer in the Spirit going at all times? What does this look like for you?
3. I Corinthians 14:2, 4, 5, 14 – Paul says “For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but TO GOD (prayer); for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. He who speaks (prays) in a tongue strengthens himself … Now I want you ALL to speak in tongues…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.”
Again, ask God to reveal to you what this means. Say this out loud, “Father show me how to pray with my spirit and sing with my spirit. Show me what this means “he who speaks in a tongue strengthens himself”.
Ask Him this, “Father is praying in the Spirit the same thing as praying in tongues?”
What I’ve discovered is that every single believer is able to pray in the Spirit. This is one of the most powerful spiritual weapons we have for “keeping it in the fairway”. This is one way the Lord builds up the spirit man inside us. No wonder Paul was so passionate about his prayer language. In 1 Corinthians 14:18 he says, “I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all.”
If you’ve never had a prayer language but you feel the Holy Spirit stirring you, I’d like to encourage you to get alone with God, spend some time in worship and the Word, and just start praying in a language you don’t know. You might start with just a few syllables. Just as you trust God for other things in your life, trust Him today that your spirit is praying and let Him build you up.
Holy Spirit, thank You for offering the gift of a prayer language to all of us. Thank You that You’ve given our spirits a way to connect with You when we may not know how to pray. Show me how to use this gift for my edification and for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
FOR FURTHER STUDY
Romans 8:26–27; 1 Corinthians 12:29–31; Ephesians 4:16