What does it mean to pray in the Holy spirit? What does it mean to pray in the Holy spirit? Is it important for our work with God?
If it is, how can we pray in the Holy spirit? What does praying in the Holy spirit entail?
This questions probe the concept of praying in the Holy spirit. The popular opinion about praying in the Holy spirit is praying in tongues but that is only a part of what it actually means to pray in the spirit.
Note that praying in the Holy spirit and praying in the Holy Ghost are the same. To pray in the Holy Spirit and to pray in the Holy Ghost are the same. Older translations used Ghost but newer translation made use of Spirit
The misconceptions surrounding the subject matter before us is one of the reasons behind the difficulties, setbacks, and hindrances we encounter when we pray.
I trust that by God's grace at the end of this piece, you will understand the concept of praying in the spirit and how to pray in the spirit.
It is important to note that praying in the spirit is not a theoretical proposition but a reality. It is not something to just know but an experience we must partake in.
As you read the letters of this article, it is also my sincere desire that you not only understand what it means to pray in the spirit but that you begin to do so.
In order to understand what it means to pray in the spirit, let's look at what it is not. Since there is no standing on the fence. If one is not praying in the spirit then they are praying in the flesh.
What Is Praying In The Flesh?
What does it mean to pray in the flesh?
Simply put, praying in the flesh is the opposite of praying in the spirit.
The contrast between praying in the flesh and praying in the spirit is one that we must carefully look.
We are humans. We have tendencies and God made us with them. For example, our emotions, volition, intellects e.t.c can effect on our prayer. That is, prayers can be subjected to these factors.
There are times when you feel this is what you should pray for. You may decide by careful observations, pressures, circumstances around, considerations and so on that this is the right thing to pray about.
Some times we can be correct and the prayer we offer from that standpoint can be accurate. But this is not always the case.
This is because our emotions, volition, intellects, observations and what have you are fallible. What we think we need is not always what we need. What our circumstances portray as our problems may not be our problems.
This constitutes a major hindrance to the answers to our prayers because we would be praying amiss when we pray from the viewpoint of those metrics.
God loves us and this is the reason why He wants to directly address what it is our problems are. He says:
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. - Jeremiah 29:11
This is why prayer is so powerful. It is man trying to access this bounties reserved for us by God. Prayer must be the believer's lifestyle and not a part-time venture.
NOTE THIS: God answers prayers (Psalms 65:2). This is the confidence we have in Him, one that stayed unbroken through out the years (1 John 5:14-15)
What then is praying in the flesh?
Praying in the flesh is carrying out the art of prayer while SOLELY DEPENDING and RELYING on your abilities.
Notice my choice of words. It is solely depending on your humanity to carry out a spiritual function. This accounts for the reason why the will of God will not be prevalent in our lives.
God intends that our prayers are answered. And He has made provision for us to be able to pray and get Him to answer. That provision is His Spirit indwelling in us.
I will like you to note that the Holy Spirit is an important personality and plays a crucial role in our prayers to God. He is God's provision for praying effectively.
God delights in answering prayers as we see in the following scriptures:
If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. - John 14:14
And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. - John 16:23-24
And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
And now, Lord, behold their threatening: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. - Acts 4:23-33
Before we go into what praying in the spirit means, I would like you to know that it is a great privilege afforded us by God to pray in the spirit.
What Then Does It Mean To Pray In The Spirit?
In defining what praying in the flesh was, I said it is the opposite of praying in the spirit. Which means praying in the spirit is praying while depending on the Spirit of God in accordance to the will of God.
To fully understand what praying in the spirit means, I would like to draw your attention to a very interesting and profound insight in Jude 20 which says:
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,
We would be highlighting the phrase "praying in the Holy spirit" and looking at it from the perspective of its original transliteration with emphasis on the word "in".
In the original rendition, the word "in" is transliterated "en" which by definition is "in, by & with".
With these three prepositions - in, by and with - we can articulate what it means to pray in the spirit.
Picking the "in" preposition from our list, to pray in the spirit can be likened to praying from a location called the spirit. Tongue-in-cheek, I mean entering into the spirit and offering prayers from there.
The location "the spirit" where we should pray from is not a physical location so to speak but a place where the will and government of God is prevalent.
Recall that prayer must be in accordance to the will of God. hence, praying in the spirit is praying from a point where only the will of God finds expression.
This is also made possible by God's Spirit dwelling in our spirit as we see from Romans 8:9:
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his
Moving on to the "by" preposition. This provision speaks about God's provision for helping us to pray effectively. In Romans 8:26, we see that the Holy Spirit helps us to pray.
The Spirit of God is God's agent for praying effectively. We would be far from praying effectively without the Spirit.
When I defined praying in the flesh, I told you that it is praying while solely depending on your ability. Praying in the spirit is the other way round because it is praying while depending on the spirit.
This is what praying by the spirit mean. Praying by the spirit is to pray by the help of the Holy spirit.
Man is full of infirmities. He is weak, frail and would always be in need of help. Most especially in his dealings with God and in keeping with God's demands.
Staying on our discourse on prayer, man will never be able to effectively pray to God without being helped by the Spirit of God.
God steps in for the infirmities and supplies help to facilitate an effective communication of the right things that can surround the life of a man in order to bring him into bliss and joy. This is praying by the spirit.
The Spirit of God identifies the need, gets over the limitation that surrounds the individual, goes beyond his weaknesses and quickens his spirit to enable the individual put his current state within the context of the will of God and access the person of God.
Psalms 80:18 is one scripture that to a large extent explains what praying by the spirit is about. It says:
So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.
Asaph, the writer of Psalms 80, understood that man is frail and must subscribe to a higher energy source in order to pray effectively. And in John 6:63, Jesus shows us that it is the Spirit that quickens.
The Spirit is that higher energy source we must be connected to if we would pray correctly. Praying by the spirit provides us support for prayer.
The third and final preposition is "with". The word "with" in this context is to be "accompanied by". So, praying with the spirit is to pray accompanied by the spirit.
To explain this, let's analyze Romans 8:26 with particular interest on the word "helpeth".
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. - Romans 8:26
The word "helpeth" literally refers to the action of having someone help you carry a load or lift something. Let me give you an analogy to explain this point.
Say you want to move your sofa from the sitting room to your bedroom. You call out to a friend to come assist you by holding one end while you hold the other and together you lift up the sofa and move it.
In similitude, praying with the Holy spirit is partnering with the spirit, so that the both of you can lift up the burden of prayer together.
Why Is It Important To Pray With The Spirit?
It is because we are full of infirmities and that creates the inability to pray as we ought to. But by the assistance of the spirit, we can overcome those infirmities and pray correctly.
In a compressed form putting all the prepositions together, praying in the spirit is:
Praying from a place where God's will and government coordinates and directs our prayers, where we pray not by relying on our abilities but on the Spirit of God, praying through the assistance of God's Spirit in partnership with our spirit.
How To Pray In The Spirit.
To pray in the spirit as touching all I have shared is to:
- Realize your inability to pray by your self
- Ask and subscribe to the help of the Holy Spirit
- Submit and yield to the Holy Spirit and
- Obey the Spirit