Praying in the Spirit

This entry is part 17 of 364 in the series Inquiring Minds
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I’ve always been fascinated by game changers. One of them is a secret weapon. The thing about a secret weapon is that the enemy never expects it. Whether it is concealed on your person or it is an unexpected surprise, a secret weapon changes the situation in your favor.

Paul explains to us that people are not our enemy (Ephesians 6:12). Instead, the enemy is Satan, the devil, and all of his friends, the wicked spiritual forces casting darkness over the earth. We’ve been talking about prayer models that help us put on the armor of God.

You may think we were finished with putting on the armor of God. After all, we’ve been through all of the pieces of the armor now. But there is one part of the armor that is unseen. It is the secret weapon that energizes the whole armor of God.

Prayer is the unseen, energizing element that makes the whole armor work. If we do not bathe our armor in prayer it will be less effective. There’s no magic piece of armor that protects you from the enemy or gives you power to fight him.

The true power of the armor is the ongoing relationship we have with Jesus. Remember that Jesus said apart from him we can do nothing (John 15:5). Prayer is the secret weapon that not only empowers the armor for battle but prepares us and gives us Jesus’ protection.

Paul talks about prayer in several ways at the end of his discussion of the armor of God. Let us start with prayer, praying all day, and end our day with prayer. Paul says to pray at all times (Ephesians 6:18). Our relationship with Jesus never stops and the best way to communicate with him is through one-on-one prayer.

So many people only use prayer when they are in crisis. Prayer does work in this way but it is more powerful the more we use it. Why not pray before the crisis? Why not take every need to Christ? He is always there waiting to speak with us. And we draw power from our relationship with him.

I want to focus this blog post on what Paul says next. He says to pray “in the Spirit.” Isn’t all prayer in the presence of God? Yes, it is. But Paul is not talking about simply praying and God’s presence. This is a special and very powerful way to pray.

Elsewhere in the Scriptures Paul talks about our personal prayer language (1 Corinthians 14:2, 15). This is praying in other tongues when the Spirit gives us the ability. On the day of Pentecost the disciples received the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4). They spoke in terms and praised God.

This type of praying gives an infusion of power to several areas of our prayer lives. There are many Christians who have never experienced the power of praying in a personal prayer language, in other tongues. These are not languages we learn.

It can be a human or angelic language (1 Corinthians 13:1). You won’t understand with your mind as you pray with your spirit (1 Corinthians 14:15). But the first benefit of praying in the Spirit is that it edifies our spirits (1 Corinthians 14:4, 18). There are other benefits as well.

For instance, when we pray for others, as Paul asked the Ephesians to pray for other Saints and him (Ephesians 6:18-19) the Spirit makes our intercession aligned with God’s will (Romans 8:26-27). We don’t know God’s will in every situation but the Holy Spirit does.

It is a deeply personal connection as deep calls out to deep and spirit to Spirit. This intimate prayer knows the situation and gives perfect requests that align with God’s will. There’s nothing like knowing that you are praying exactly what needs to be prayed at that moment in that circumstance.

Praying for others is the privilege of every prayer warrior and every believer in Jesus. The power of the Holy Spirit in our prayers makes us able to intercede on a spiritual level for those who need a touch from God.

Finally, praying “in the Spirit” allows us to have boldness as we witness to others about Jesus. The Holy Spirit speaks through us (Matthew 10:20; Luke 12:12), providing the words that apply directly to the heart of each moment. This power is given to us also through the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

Praying in the Spirit gives us boldness to speak for Jesus. This type of prayer does not give us power magically. It is the Holy Spirit inside of us, dwelling in us, who speaks through us and intercedes through us. The power is him, not us.

For some this may sound like a strange way to pray but the power of the Holy Spirit is real and helps us tear down the strongholds of the enemy. Prayer for spiritual warfare with an infusion of God’s Spirit in us empowers our fight with the enemy.

Praying in the Spirit is the secret weapon he doesn’t expect until it’s too late for him. Leave a comment and tell me some of your experiences with praying in the Spirit and spiritual warfare.

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