PRAYER IN THE SPIRIT (Part 9)

Three years ago I began to mentor a 43 year old man in my home town whom my younger brother had led to the Lord. He also received the baptism with the Holy Spirit at that time. This man began praying in other tongues extensively from the very beginning of his conversion.

Here’s the latest: This brother has continued to pray in tongues quite regularly and now a new phenomenon is happening. He is uttering names in prayer that he doesn’t even know. This is the only way you could pray for all saints because you don’t know all the saints. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…” (Eph 6:18). This is real prayer in the Spirit.

One day when I was a young student in Bible school a praying man named Phil Halverson was called up to the platform to pray. When he prayed it seemed like heaven opened and a spirit of prayer consumed everybody. I had never heard anyone pray with such unction and inspiration before. He would speak out names of people and places in prayer that he didn’t even know. One time when he was just learning to pray this way it was reported that he was frequently uttering the words “Cookie” and “Candy”. Brother Halverson, wanting some assurance that he was on safe and scriptural grounds, spoke to the late Kenneth Hagin, a man of great spiritual stature, about this new phenomenon that was occuring in his prayer life. Hagin laughed because it turns out that those were the nicknames of his two granddaughters. Again, this is real prayer in the Spirit.

I remember also hearing a testimony of one of the pioneers of the Pentecostal movement in the early 1900’s before there was any organization among them. The only way they could communicate was in the Spirit. One day the Holy Spirit told this pioneer pastor to go over to another state and raise up a young pastor who was dying. That sounds alot like Ananias being instructed by the Lord in the Spirit to go and minister to Saul. Specific details were given concerning Saul’s exact location and condition, and calling (Acts 9:10-18). I’m afraid sometimes we can be so organized that we organize the Holy Spirit right out of our affairs and prayers. If you carefully examine the book of Acts you will find continual communication in the Spirit.

As we’ve discussed in this blog series, prayer is communion in the Spirit. We know to pray for certain things the Bible instructs to pray for, but it would be impossible to pray for things we don’t know about except it be in the Spirit. For instance, I know what to pray for concerning me and my life and family, but I don’t always know about others. I think one of the greatest values of being baptized with the Spirit is the value of receiving our prayer language of tongues so that we are able to then pray for things we do not know about.

The apostle Paul speaks of two kinds of praying in 1 Cor 14:14-15; praying with our spirits and praying with our understanding. Praying with our own understanding would be praying with our own minds and mental faculties. This is very limited praying because it is based on your own limited knowledge. But praying with our spirits is praying with God’s understanding which is unlimited knowledge. You see, all praying is not necessarily spiritual. Some of it is purely in the mental realm. For the most part, the Church has failed because it has endeavored to carry out the work of God only with mental praying.

“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.” (Rom 8:26)

P.C. Nelson, a prominent Greek scholar, said that the end of v 26 reads this way in the Greek: “groanings which cannot be uttered in articulate speech (which is our regular kind of speech)”. This would include praying in tongues. Have you ever prayed and inspiration just wells up within you that you cannot express in mere words of your own understanding? That is the Holy Spirit helping you.

We don’t know how to pray as we should sometimes. For example, we can pray for all those in authority as the Word instructs us (1 Tim 2:1-2), but we don’t know all that’s facing them and what is happening behind the scenes many times. The Holy Spirit does, however, and He wants to help us pray into those areas. A prayer where you say, “God bless all those in authority” or “God bless so and so” is a bit shallow and inadequate. When you only pray mentally with your own understanding you often come to a wall where you know that your prayers are insufficient to bring forth the desired result.

At times you don’t feel too much inspiration in prayer, but other times you feel like bursting. Usually it is somewhere inbetween. We need to understand, though, that even when there’s no inspiration, we can start out in faith and move into the Spirit by praying in other tongues. Thank God we don’t have to wait around for a spirit of ecstacy to fill us before we can pray this way. It is difficult to explain the real value derived from praying in the Spirit or in other tongues to someone who has never experienced it.

The spiritual realm is not real to many Christians because we live so much of the time in the physical and mental realms. We make so much noise with our minds. Making a practice of praying in tongues and meditating on the Word will help our minds get quiet. It will take time, but you can get to the place where you learn the Spirit’s touch, and you hear Him speaking to you by revelation or alerting you to something in prayer. The knowledge of certain things will just come into your spirit.

Oh, I’m so hungry to know Him in a deeper way, and pray into places I’ve never prayed before, aren’t you?

To be continued…

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