What is it like for you when you pray?
I remember when I was first really learning to pray, I dreamt up the most sophisticated topics, sentences and dilemmas for God…or so I thought. I wanted to seem smart to Him. Then I decided to pray about everything I could think of. I kept a journal and listed out every thought I had, every emotion, every assumption, every everything. I prayed in the car, in the house, I talked out loud, I prayed in my head. Prayer was relaxing and fun. I released bitterness I’d held on to for years, received new ideas about old projects and generally got to know myself better than I’d ever known myself. The verse in Thessalonians told me to “pray without ceasing”. So I did. How about you? How do you like to pray?
Then I read that verse…
1 Corinthians 14:15 “What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.”
Yikes…I’d been a Christian since I was five years old…nobody said there were two ways to pray. But they had, I just didn’t know it. I figured out that I was doing all my prayer with my understanding. But I had no clue how to pray with my spirit.
Someone taught me that prayer in the spirit melts God’s heart because He is spirit. If you take the time to pray to Him in His language and in His way, He calls it perfect prayer. WOW! Prayer with my understanding wasn’t wrong or bad, it just limited to my five senses perspectives and surroundings. God KNOWS much more and energizes a perfectly fit prayer for every situation, even giving HIM thanks. My heart thrilled to know that I could do something in my little Christian walk that would melt God, the Maker of the universe’s heart.
Then I read Romans 8:26-27
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what [is] the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to [the will of] God.”
That “Spirit” is our gift of Holy Spirit that God put inside each one of us the moment we believed Romans 10:9-10. That spiritual gift makes intercession for us when we use it and pray with it. We have freewill. Our mind thinks when we decide to think, our arms legs and body moves when we decided to move and our personal gift of Holy Spirit prays when we decide to pray with it. But how? How can we pray with our spirit when that is clearly different from praying with our understanding?
I’ll talk about that but first I’d like to say that I had to overcome some religious training barriers. I was raised to believe that there is only one way to pray. These were strongly held beliefs on my part. I had to make a big decision, do I believe what God says in His Word, or do I believe what man has taught me? I’d already realized by this point that no one single religion had a monopoly on the rightly divided truth of God’s Word.
“2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” Romans 12:2
What I already knew about prayer had only taken me so far with God, I knew this must be the key to a richer deeper walk with Him.
So I pressed on, despite the error in my mind and past. If God wrote about “praying in the Spirit” in the epistles addressed to me, then He must want me to pursue it. I believe there is a moment in every believer’s life when they must decide to press on and win the race or fall back and settle for second best.
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
This was my moment. So I looked up everything I could find in the Bible about it. I also found this worksheet about it that explained how to do it. Click here to see and download the worksheet.
After I read and reread all this information and realized that prayer in the spirit is meant for every believer, I decided to just try it. What could it hurt? God was obviously FOR me doing it. Otherwise why would the Bible keep bringing it up?
The first time I prayed in the Spirit, I closed my drapes, locked my doors and sat on the floor of my living room. I deliberately got quiet in my mind and then prayed that God would help me receive all that He had in store for me. Then I did it. I spoke in tongues, using my lips, tongue, throat and mouth. WOWZAH!!! Yes, I know that spirit is not physical. It does not manifest in physical sensations, but the joy and elation I felt wouldn’t let up! I cried, laughed, sang, thanked God and haven’t stopped since.
People…why would God give us healing and miracles if He didn’t want us to have them? Why would He tell us about discerning of spirits, word of wisdom, word of knowledge and faith but not let us receive them into our lives? WHY? Why tempt us? Why put the carrot out there that we would never be able to reach?? Wouldn’t that be child abuse? Well…He didn’t do that. God is the perfect parent. He made these things available through His perfect gift of Holy Spirit that He provided in our salvation package.
“4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Act 2:4 KJV
“46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,…” Act 10:46 KJV
“6 And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” Act 19:6 KJV
Ever since the day I prayed in the spirit for the first time, my relationship with God grew. It grew, not by days and weeks at a time, but by years, and decades at a time. God had soo much He wanted to teach me but I had to begin operating the mechanics of His gift. We learn to operate our five senses when we are a physical baby. We must learn to operate our spiritual five senses or gift when we are a spiritual baby. Watch how Jesus Christ explained the mechanics of our new spiritual body.
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” John 3:1-7
As a spiritual babe we need to spiritual nourishment. Prayer in the spirit builds a believer up, and gives them strength…in their spirit. Prayer with our understanding is still one of the two ways to pray, but we must never discount the second and yet most important way to pray, praying in the spirit.
“For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.” 2 Corinthians 14:2
I urge you, if you’ve never prayed in the spirit or want to understand more about it, read this old handout I found. It uses all the verses and explains them clearly.
So how about it, do you pray with both kinds of prayer? How does it feel to you?
God bless you today!