It is vital to know what it means to “pray in the Spirit,” for we are exhorted twice in Scripture to do just that. The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:18, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…” Jude also spoke of this in Jude 20, “But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit” (NASB). We believe that to “pray in the Spirit” is to “pray in the power of the Spirit.” If we are praying in the power of the Spirit, we will be “guided” by the Spirit; that is, He will lead us in our thoughts, and burden our hearts to pray. Of course the Spirit will always guide us according to the will of God as revealed in the Bible or by impressing a certain need on our hearts. Praying in the Spirt could also include times when we don’t know God’s will in a matter and are at a loss for words; at those times the Spirit prays for us, as we see in Romans 8:26, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how we should pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (NASB). This is certainly the opposite of simply reciting a memorized prayer where the heart is not engaged and bowing to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

We could stop right here, but we should ask another all-important question. Is there something that we need to do before we can pray in the Spirit? In other words, is there a spiritual state required of us before the Spirit can empower us in prayer and lead us according to God’s holy will? I had just mentioned that we can fall into a mechanical prayer life where we simply repeat memorized prayers, and that in those cases “the heart is not engaged and bowing to the leading of the Holy Spirit.” Surely, dear brothers and sisters, OUR HEARTS MUST BE BOWING TO THE LEADING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT! Mr. Harry Ironside made this simple yet true comment on this subject, “Praying in the Holy Spirit can only be the result of a walk in the Spirit.” We need, dear ones, TO WALK IN THE SPIRIT! Galatians 5:25 states, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” The life that we have in Christ was made possible by the Spirit’s work in us, so it stands to reason that we should now allow the Spirit to have His way in our lives.

Putting it simply, we should YIELD OUR LIVES TO THE SPIRIT and let Him control us. In Ephesians 5:18 we are told, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess: but be filled with the Spirit.” Instead of being under the control of wine, or some other worldly influence, we are to be under the Spirit’s control and influence. Every morning upon waking, we should turn immediately to the Lord and ask Him to fill us with the Spirit every minute of the day. The Spirit will gladly fill our hearts and lead us in sweet communion with our heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. He will open the scriptures to us to reveal God’s will and then, and only then, will we be able to approach the throne of grace and “pray in the Spirit.” We will then be “walking in the Spirit” AND “praying in the Spirit.” (162.9) (DO)