Praying By The Spirit

After warning us about false teachers and the ungodliness of the last days, Jude wrote, “But you dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 20). Paul also exhorts us to “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and petitions” (Ephesians 6:18). We can only effectively pray as the Holy Spirit enables us and we can only pray in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That does not mean that we simply end a prayer by saying, “in Jesus name I pray.” It means that we pray in a way that is consistent with the nature and purpose of Jesus. “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (Ephesians 3:12).

If we are going to pray in the Spirit, we need to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:19-20). Then the Holy Spirit enables us to pray as explained by Paul in Romans 8: 26; “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

The words “helps” is sunantilambano in the Greek language. It has two prepositions before the verb lambano, which means “take”. Paul is saying that the Holy Spirit comes along side, bears us up, and takes us across to the other side, i.e. to God. The fact that we really don’t know how or what to pray for demonstrates our weakness. The prayer that God the Holy Spirit prompts us to pray is the prayer that God the Father will always answer. He leads us to pray as He guides our thoughts. His guidance may be so deep that words cannot express what we sense in our hearts. The Holy Spirit knows our hearts and He knows the will of God.

The Holy Spirit not only helps us to pray, He actually intercedes on our behalf. Two members of the Trinity are continuously praying on our behalf. John says, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1). According to Paul, “Christ Jesus, who died-more than that, who was raised to new life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).

We have more help than we could ever comprehend, and there is no reason why we can’t pray without ceasing. Just ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit and start thanking Him for all that He is and for all that He has done for you. Then let the Holy Spirit disclose to your mind the will of your Heavenly Father. He knows what to pray for, and He will continue to lead you throughout your day as you practice the presence of God.

Dr. Neil

For Spanish, see

9051 Executive Park Drive, Suite 503 • Knoxville, TN 37923 • 865.342.4000