Praying In The Spirit


Praying in the Spirit

June 19, 2021

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions”  Ephesians 6:18

Sitting in the coffee shop after the Bible study, Archie and Laverne were processing what they had just studied. “So, do you think that praying in the Holy Spirit means praying in tongues, Archie?”

         “Actually I’m not certain, Laverne but I know God has the answer for us. Years ago I met an older man who studied the Bible often and he gave me these words of wisdom—“Whenever I begin to read the Bible I ask God for wisdom and He always answers that prayer. God doesn’t want us ignorant of His Word or confused by opinions that may not line up with the Bible. Since then I do just that and God guides me as I read and study the Bible.”

         After asking God for wisdom as they studied, Laverne said, “We know that the Holy Spirit gives Christians Spiritual Gifts which includes speaking in tongues. Let’s look up those verses for a start.”

         Romans 12:6-8  In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

       I Corinthians 12:4-11 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

         1 Corinthians 12:27-31  Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

1 Peter 4:10-11  God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

Jude 1:20  But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 6:18  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

“To me, it is clear that the gift of speaking in tongues is not necessarily the same as praying in the Spirit,” said Archie. “I think speaking or praying in tongues is meant for self-edification and speaking to God, unless God has provided an interpretation, according to 1 Corinthians 14.”

“I agree. Praying in the Holy Spirit brings our focus and dependence on God. Since we are filled with God’s Holy Spirit, praying in the Spirit sounds like calling on the Spirit within to guide our prayers, reminding us how much we rely on Him for our prayers. After all, Romans 8:26-27 tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes as we pray since we don’t know what to say.”

“I’m sure there will always be debates among believers but it is clear that God wants unity in the body which means coming together  rather than finding “spiritual issues” to disagree on. Perhaps praying in the Spirit means praying with a humble, open heart, trusting the Spirit to guide our prayers and bring to our minds who and what we should be praying for,” said Archie.


Revelation 19:1-10

The Living Bible

After this I heard the shouting of a vast crowd in heaven, “Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Salvation is from our God. Honor and authority belong to him alone; for his judgments are just and true.

Then I heard again what sounded like the shouting of a huge crowd, or like the waves of a hundred oceans crashing on the shore, or like the mighty rolling of great thunder, “Praise the Lord. For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice and honor him; for the time has come for the wedding banquet of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. She is permitted to wear the cleanest and whitest and finest of linens.” (Fine linen represents the good deeds done by the people of God.)

And the angel dictated this sentence to me: “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “God himself has stated this.”*

Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said, “No! Don’t! For I am a servant of God just as you are, and as your brother Christians are, who testify of their faith in Jesus. Worship God. The purpose of all prophecy and of all I have shown you is to tell about Jesus.”[a]

  1. Revelation 19:10 The purpose of all prophecy . . . is to tell about Jesus, literally, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Love Your Enemies

Praise Your Name, Jesus!

“Pray for those who torment you and persecute you”  Matt. 5:44

Jim looked forward to Saturday evenings at his Bible study group. It was prayer night. He loved praying for so many friends and loved ones; his and those of his fellow Christians. But this night would be a milestone for Jim—a point of no return. It would be a reshaping of his prayer life.

Phil was leading the group and he asked everyone to make a list during the coming week. The list was to be of those people considered their enemies. Included should be politicians, rude clerks, greedy corporations, worldly church leaders and so on. To kick start the project they would begin with prayers for enemies..

Jim almost bolted and ran. He had been deceived and stolen from by two friends. They had taken his business, good credit and left him with a pile of debt. In addition to the business debt, Jim was forced to hire an attorney which cost him thousands of dollars and did little to help. Later he discovered the attorney was noted as one of the least competent in town.

As Phil asked everyone to pray, Jim began with a simmering anger, clenching his fists, silently asking God why He allowed all of those terrible things to happen to him. And now, when he thought it was all behind him, how could God ask him to pray for those who used and maligned him? His heart was breaking and his blood pressure was rising. Tears began to flow. 

“I know that some of you will ask why we’re praying for our enemies,” Phil said. “Why not just try and forget them and hopefully never talk to them again. After all, we are admonished by Jesus to love as proof of our Christianity. You may even feel that as long as you don’t still nurture the hate and anger toward them, you’ve done well. As always, let’s see what the Bible says about this issue.”

Matthew 5:43-44  ~”You have been taught to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you”

Acts 7:59-60  ~”As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.”

Romans 12:12-14   ~”Base your happiness on your hope in Christ. When trials come, endure them patiently, steadfastly maintain the habit of prayer. Give freely to fellow-Christians in want, never grudging a meal or a bed to those who need them.  And as for those who try to make your life a misery, bless them. Don’t curse, bless.”

Romans 12:20-21  ~”If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head. Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.”* 

1 Cor. 4:11-13   ~”Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment.”

1 Cor. 13:4-8  ~”Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!”

1 Peter 2:20-21 ,23  ~”Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.  He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.”  

By now, cleansing tears were flowing throughout the room. Calling out to God in prayer opened their hearts for change, for a touch of the Master’s hand, for purification and redemption. And what of us, do we harbor ill feelings, grudges, anger toward someone who has actually wronged us? Someone who took advantage of us? Someone who has not paid the price, as far as we know? And that is the point;  as Stephen asked God to forgive those who killed him, we must allow God to help us forgive those who have wronged us. We must pray for them.    

*Proverbs 25:21-22

Ephesians, Part 6

“I rejoice in your Word like one who discovers a great treasure” Psalms

Ephesians Chapter 1

6-8 Now all praise to God for his wonderful kindness to us and his favor that he has poured out upon us because we belong to his dearly loved Son. So overflowing is his kindness toward us that he took away all our sins through the blood of his Son, by whom we are saved; and he has showered down upon us the richness of his grace—for how well he understands us and knows what is best for us at all times. TLB

Do we continually wash ourselves in the Word of God? Do we take time each day to relish our eternal standing in Christ, our complete forgiveness of sins?

Two Christian men in a meeting to discuss the upcoming events in their church:

“Well, let’s begin with prayer.”

“Sure, but keep it brief. I have two more meetings after this one.”

“Don’t worry, my schedule is hectic as well.”

You may be thinking, what’s your point? These men are obviously very busy and know that God hears them at all times so why not get on with their meeting? Take a second and consider Psalm 119:162 above, If one of these men had just discovered a great treasure in his attic or received a notice of a large inheritance, do you think he might find time to share his joy and great fortune with his friend? Would his demeanor be glowing with excitement as he continually thought of what lay ahead? Of course.

And yet, we have discovered the greatest treasure of all. One that will never tarnish, rust or lose its value. Our treasure came wrapped in swaddling clothes, walked upon the earth healing disease and telling the future. And then our treasure willingly died for us, took on Himself the punishment for our sins. But next came His most stunning example of eternal power, He rose from the dead, assuming his position of power at God’s right hand.

Through His actions, Jesus gave us new life both here on earth and, more importantly, in heaven forever with God. Does this sound routine to you? Am I excited by this wonderful truth? Or have I allowed myself to be overcome with life’s busyness; reading the Bible occasionally, attending church, giving my tithe.

I was at a friend’s house lately, watching a sporting event with several people. The teams were closely matched and the score moved back and forth until the final few seconds. My team was slightly behind. There was a spirit of tension and excitement in the room. And then, as the clock wound down to the final seconds, my team scored, winning the game. The room exploded with joy and disappointment, depending on which team you hoped would win. Those who were rooting for the winning team were jumping up and down hugging each other. The others were disappointed and sad. You know the feeling of joy when your team wins at the last second.

After reading the verses in Ephesians 1 above, what sort of excitement and jubilation should I feel— every day?

“All praise to God for His wonderful kindness to us.”

I should be jumping up and down as I recall His words. I am on the winning team forever. God has forgiven all my sins and prepared a place for me in heaven (John 14:1-3). He will wipe away all my tears (Revelation 21:4).

“For the joy that was set before Him” Jesus “endured the cross.” Hebrews 12:2 Savor God’s Word.

Ephesians, Part 3

“The Word of the Lord endures forever!” 1 Peter 1:25


Ephesians Chapter 1

2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Paul continues with his earnest desire for all the followers of Christ; that the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father pour out supernatural grace and peace on their lives. This is not a casual thought or passing greeting as we might say, “Have a great day!” Far more, this is from Pauls great desire that each follower of Christ walk in God’s grace and peace. Imagine those days when the whole ball of wax of our lives seems to melt before your eyes. Paul’s hope is that we will walk through the trials of life, understanding we have God’s eternal grace and peace every minute of every day.

3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.

Stop and think what we’ve just read. Have you relished the power of these words? Go back and read them again. This is not a to-do list, a grocery list, a few reminders. These are God’s Words! The living Word of God, passed down from the beginning of time according to His holy plan.

Do you have a favorite book? One you take off the shelf once a year or so, knowing how you relish the story, the writing style, how it speaks to you with each reading? There’s just something you love about the book. You value it. As believers, that book should be the Bible; Written by God as He spoke the words via His Holy Spirit into the hearts of all the authors. Clearly then, reading our Bible should be an act of joyful anticipation, expecting the Holy Spirit to give us personal revelation.

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,—” Not some or lots of— ALL praise to God. How many billions of people inhabit the earth? How many billions have passed into eternity since the beginning of time? If we could fill the planet with every soul who has lived and every voice would continuously sing praises unto God— that would not be too much. He is worthy of all praise. His purity and perfection should generate spontaneous peals of HALLELUJAH! (Praise You, Jehovah!)

Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms—” What can this mean? Do we understand such a glorious proclamation from God? In short, we do not understand this promise. And it is a promise from God. This must mean that in spite of our feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, and failure, we have been blessed with spiritual blessings by God. Specifically, every blessing in the heavenly realms. Since this is so mind boggling, we are tempted to set it aside as too hard to understand. Don’t do it. God does not lie and He has written in the Bible that we have been blessed with specific heavenly blessings whether or not we can grasp this fact. Pray about it. Ask God about it. Search the bible for the answer. Have faith! “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb 11:1)