How to Pray in the Spirit

Praying in the spirit has always been a topic of dispute and controversy. The scriptures say we should be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18). Prayer is the responsibility of every born-again believer. That said, we don’t always pray as we should. We need God’s help to know how to pray and what to pray for.

Romans 8:26 – “The Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

How to Pray in the Spirit

Pray with dependency upon the Holy Spirit. One of the first things we must ask in our prayer time is for the Holy Spirit’s help. Praying in the Spirit is praying with complete and absolute dependency upon the Spirit of God to guide us. We are in need of His assistance if we want to pray as we should. Jesus said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Jesus helps us through the agency of the Holy Spirit to pray as we should. We must be in complete dependence upon Him when we seek the face of God.

Be “borne along” in your prayers by the Holy Spirit. “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost” (Jude 20). This verse is talking about those times when you pour your heart out to God and as you do words begin flowing from your lips effortlessly. This is when the Holy Spirit takes over and it is no longer you praying, but the Holy Spirit crying out to God through you (Romans 8:15).

This kind of prayer usually only takes place after we have already spent considerable time talking with God. It seldom happens when we first begin to pray. Few people ever experience being “borne along” in their prayers by the Holy Spirit. It takes discipline and commitment in our time of prayer before the Spirit of God takes over and we fade into the background. Let’s commit ourselves to concerted, concentrated and fervent prayer until it is no longer us, but God’s Spirit praying through us.

Pray in tongues. “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” (1 Corinthians 14:2). This is not the Holy Spirit praying, but our human spirit moved upon by the Spirit of God. Our human spirit begins speaking directly to God in a language we do not understand (1 Corinthians 14:15). This can be one of the most powerful forms of prayer and praise for two reasons:

  1. We cannot have unbelief about what we are praying for, because we do not understand what we are praying for.
  2. We are speaking mysteries to God. When we are facing a situation where we are at a loss as to how to pray, we begin praying with our spirit (tongues), by-passing our understanding, and praying directly to God.

For more insight about the ministry of tongues read: Fivefold Ministry of the Holy Spirit, How to Receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Questions About Speaking in Tongues.

“Groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). This is prayer that is not vocalized in understandable words, human or spiritual. Notice it says, “Too deep for words” – even tongues. This takes place only when we are so intensely burdened in prayer that our spirit (or the Holy Spirit within us) begins to utter “groanings too deep for words.” Sadly, few rarely enter such depths of prayer.

Prayer: Precious Holy Spirit, we need of your help. Without your assistance we are merely uttering empty words. Please take control of our prayer life and help us pray as we should. In Jesus name, amen!


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