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Philippines
Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Praying in the Spirit

By Reverend Wenzyl V. Dejolde

July 19, 2020

TODAY I will be sharing with you on the topic “Praying IN the Spirit.” Praying in the Spirit is mentioned three times in the Scripture particularly the New Testament.

In 1st Corinthians 14:15 says, “So, what shall I do? I will pray with the Spirit but I will also pray with my understanding. I will sing with my Spirit and I will also sing with my understanding.”

Second mention of this is in Ephesians 6:18 which says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests with this in mind be alert and always keep on praying all the Lord’s people or in other version, “All the saints.”

“Thirdly, we also read about praying in the Spirit in Job Chapter 1:20 which says, “But you dear friends by building yourselves up, in your most Holy Faith and praying in the Holy Spirit.”

So may I ask, what exactly does it mean to pray in the Spirit? The Greek word translated “PRAY IN” can have several different meanings. It can mean “by MEANS of the Holy Spirit, with the HELP of the Holy Spirit, or in the SPHERE of the Holy Spirit. And could be, in CONNECTION with the Holy Spirit.

So “Praying in the Spirit” does not mean to refer to the WORDS we are saying. Rather, it refers to “HOW we are praying.” So, praying in the Spirit is praying according to the Spirit’s LEADING. It is praying for things that the Spirit leads for us to pray for.

So our Scripture for today Romans 8:26 tells us in the same way the Spirit HELPS us in our WEAKNESS. Take note: We do NOT know what we ought to pray for but the Spirit himself INTERCEDES for us with GROANS that words cannot express.

You know what, some churches based on 1st Corinthians 14:15 they equate praying in the Spirit with praying in tongues. Discussing the gift of tongues, Paul mentions pray with the Spirit particularly verse 14 and it says, “For if I pray in tongue my Spirits pray. But my mind is unfruitful.”

Paul here is saying that when a person prays in TONGUES, he does not know what he is saying since it is spoken in a language he does not know. Further, no one else can understand what is being said unless, according to Scripture, there is somebody to INTERPRET it.

Let me read verse Romans 8:27-28, “27 And he that search the hearts know what is the mind of the Spirit, because he make intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Very important to take note that when you speak in tongues Paul advised that if there is no one to interpret, one should – and I borrow Paul’s word – keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God. Again, may I ask: What exactly does it mean to pray in the Spirit?

In Ephesians 6:18 Paul instructs us to pray in the Spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests. So, how are we to pray? With all kinds of prayers, with all kinds of requests, with all concerns for the saints or for the believers of God. If no one including the person praying understands what is being said, therefore, brethren in the Lord, praying in the Spirit should be understood as:

1.) Praying in the POWER of the Holy Spirit

2.) Praying by the LEADING of the Holy Spirit

3.) Praying in the Spirit should be understood as, it should be done according to His WILL. Not limited with praying in tongues.

It is then the Holy Spirit who ENABLES prayer. Let me tell you something. Not only you cannot pray without the power of the Holy Spirit. You could not even desire to pray without the Holy Spirit because in the FIRST PLACE, it is the Holy Spirit that enables you to communicate, to connect to God and say things, and intercede for you and for all the saints.

It is not a matter of emotions, though that can be affected by prayer. It is not even a matter of discipline that every day you spend this much time to pray, though that’s a part of it. It is not even a matter of the will that you tell yourself that “I will pray,” though it’s part of it.

It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are lead, that I am lead, that I am facilitated into the depths of the presence of the most Holy One. It is by the Holy Spirit that we are granted audience to our loving Abba Father.

The next question would be – and you are tempted to ask. I too, is tempted to ask myself – what is then or how should I do it Lord? Knowing that it is or praying in the Spirit is only by the POWER of the Holy Ghost, by the LEADING of the Holy Ghost, or according to your WILL and it is not limited to the prayer in tongues or any language, then “How should I do it oh Lord, My God.”

Let me share my own prayer journey as a pastor. Previously, I considered prayer as my way of communicating – at all time— early morning as I wake up I say a short prayer “Lord thank you for another day.” That’s it, that’s how short, that’s how brief I communicate and every time I make decisions, options that I choose, I ask the Lord, I communicate to Him. That’s how I pray. When I am asked to lead a prayer in public, in the family, or in any gathering, we all know how we did it.

One time I attended a gathering of Spiritual Directors of a hospital in Ethopia, South Africa. And it that gathering to start the meeting, because this is attended by many Spiritual Directors around the globe, the gathering would start with a prayer. My assumption, coming from my own practice, prayer would only take about maximum, maybe, 15 minutes.

So, prayer started with reading a scripture, singing a song, and then again reading a Scripture and then a reflection. After around 15 to 20 minutes that portion was done, and what’s next was the facilitator said, “Let us pray in our own language.”

So I started praying, communicating. As I have said, prayer for me is to talk to God and to hear Him talk to me. I spent 15 minutes and after 15 minutes I have nothing to say anymore.

And I looked at fellow Spiritual Directors around me and they were still in the prayer mode. So I just kept silence, sat there, waited, waited, waited. One hour passed they still are praying and I was just there disturbed already with my silence. To take note, I later asked myself, “Lord How can I savor the prayer moment with you. I do not know anymore what to say. With all the training, with all the orientation, with all the knowledge after reading the Scripture, reading literatures, reading materials, books and everything, all the knowledge I have, I don’t have anything more to say anymore after around an hour.

Others are still praying and savoring the holy presence of God. Two hours passed, I was so disturbed from within and I asked, “Lord I do not have anything to say anymore. I can’t hear you. All I can hear is the noise around.” And so as I was asking, “Lord what is it that you want me to hear?”

Still small voice I heard to open my scripture in Psalms 46:10 which immediately I opened the Bible and read: “Be still, know that I am God…”

“Lord I have been still, I have been sitting here, I have been quiet, I do not know what to say and people are still praying, talking, and listening to you, I have nothing to say anymore.”

The scripture keeps on ringing “Be still, be still, be still.”

I asked with reason: What is the difference between silence and stillness?

So, rationalizing things, kay mao man ni ang atong na-andan, mo rationalize dayon ta, and then asking, “Ok, what are the sources of noise around me, identifying those things and putting it off, all the noises.” But again I was not still. Disturbance comes from within. Then only then did I realize that God was revealing all the noises, not just around but from within. That’s when I realized that God was talking. Talking because He was revealing something from within and going back to the Scripture and He was saying “Be still and know that I am God. It is only by realizing that we cannot do it with all our attempt. Your intellect may be is needed but it fails. Emotions may be built up with music, and everything you can cry, with all your emotions to the peak of it but emotions fail.

You can have all the training, and the orientation and everything but all of that will fail. Every human attempt is doomed to fail. Only when the Scripture tells us in Romans 8:26 when we recognize, we do not know what we ought to pray.

The Scripture tells us the Spirit himself intercedes for us. I was thankful, I was so humbled when I acknowledged “Lord I do not know anymore what to say.” It was then that I realized immediately, the spontaneity, of talking and listening and followed by a lot of Scriptures that I have not memorized ever since that God was talking, and I was listening.

Praying then in the Spirit may dear brothers and sisters, well, may be aided with our intellect, with all the trainings, and orientations but take note they ALL will FAIL.

Praying in the Spirit, let me reiterate is only through the POWER of the Holy Spirit, LEAD by the Spirit and according to the WILL of the Spirit. By the time you realize you do not know what to pray for, He himself intercedes for you and provides all the concerns for the saints to pray for. May God give you and all of us the wonderful experience of savoring the presence of God in our prayer life. Amen.