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
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
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….