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Prayer Article 29

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Prayers of the Pentecost: Praying in the Spirit   


The scene: Pentecost.  To most Jews it was just another annual festival (Shabuoth or Feast of Pentecost) marking 50 days after the First Fruits: a feast to celebrate the spring harvest, a day of dedication.  But this First Fruits was not your normal spring harvest thanksgiving.  Instead, it became the first day’s mighty harvest of the Holy Spirit – the 50 day gestation after the Resurrection of the Christ.


Little did that community know that heaven had chosen that day for the grand, dramatic entrance of the Holy Spirit and a new epic direction for mankind.  What were we in for now with this unpredictable power from God?  Could man have access to this power?  Was the Spirit that available to those who would believe?  Can the Holy Spirit really take control of our lives and fill us with the mind and heart of Christ?


It was all for a greater understanding of who God is, His power and that He wants to be understood by everyone on an even greater level than ever before – for the whole world.


In Acts 2:1-13, we read the account of that spectacular event.  It is in a prayer meeting that these believers encounter this kind of power for the first time.  The Holy Spirit united not only everyone in that room but extended its sphere of unity to the streets; For as they spoke, they were given the ability to speak in languages that would be readily understood by the visitors to that city.  Those people heard the truth in their own language and believed. 


That is what God wants – a clear communication that reveals His heart and power.


In light of expediency, the church used a universal language (Latin) for about 1,500 years before the Reformation returned to Pentecost’s original intent – to be understood in our own languages, with freedom to communicate with God directly and honestly.


Out of this passage also comes the phrase to “pray in the spirit.” This has taken on multiple interpretations but one must not lose the significance of praying in the spirit because of debate or confusion.  (1 Corinthians 14:15, Ephesians 6:18, Jude 20)


So, what does it mean to pray in the spirit and how does one pray this way?


The key to praying in the spirit will always be the “understanding” of what you have prayed and that you have not been the sole author of these words.  First is Christ’s instruction: to wait for the Spirit.  We need to mediate, take time to ponder the attributes of the Spirit and to ask the Spirit to guide our thoughts and words.  Then there will be freedom in the spirit (2Cor. 3:17) and then revelation, knowledge and depth of insight will come (Eph. 1:17).  Yes, satan can quote scripture but it is the Spirit that makes God’s Word relevant in love to the listener.  The Spirit makes things understood in the inner being.  It is not praying in the power of the flesh, but rather a praying in the power of the spirit.


Praying in the spirit does not refer to the words we are saying.  It is about how we are praying – praying for things the Spirit leads us to rather than our own lists.  Praying in the spirit should be understood by everyone who hears the prayer so that they, too, can encounter the Spirit’s power.  It is not a special form of prayer, like praying in tongues, as it states that we should pray like this “at all times” (Eph. 6:18).  In other words, all prayer should be in the spirit.  It is the way all prayer should be offered.  Then you will pray from fear to faith, from anger to love, from anxiety to peace, from depression to joy and the focus shifts from flesh to the spirit.


We can pray this way all because of Pentecost.  Isn’t that thrilling!  Are you curious?  Have you asked the Holy Spirit to help you understand this prayer?  Do you know that He desires to make this understood by everyone – just as it happened at Pentecost.  Ask Him – just ask….




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