Sunday, January 6, 2008
What Does it Mean to..."Pray in the Spirit?"
Praying In The Holy Spirit
Jude 1:20 (NIV) But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.
Eph 6:18 (NIV) And pray in the Spirit...
Does This Mean "Praying In Tongues", As Some Insist?
Certainly praying in tongues is a way to "pray in the Spirit", but not the only way. Praying in the Spirit encompasses the full panoply of prayer, as we will see in a moment.
1 Cor 12:29-30 (NIV) Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
Since the answer to all of the above questions is "no", it is clear that some receive gifts from the Holy Spirit and do not speak in tongues.
The Lord Gives Gifts as He Chooses
Heb 2:4 (Wey) ...by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed in accordance with His own will.
1 Cor 12:11 (NAS) But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
1 Cor 12:4 (KJV) Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
1 Pet 4:10-11 (NAS) As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Then What Does "Praying In The Spirit" Mean?
Eph 6:18a (NRS) Pray in the Spirit...
The proper way to understand this phrase is: "pray in the Spirit" as opposed to "pray in the flesh". What is really behind our prayers?
For example: we know that the Pharisees were very keen on prayer, but was the Holy Spirit "in them" doing this? When we pray, are we motivated by religious instinct, showing off, legalism, or carnality? All such is worthless, a bubble of vanity--even if in "tongues". Instead, let us pray at the prompting of the Holy Spirit and by His leading in the way that is fit for the need, by His grace.
Phil 2:13 (Wey) For it is God Himself whose power creates within you the desire to do His gracious will and also brings about the accomplishment of the desire.
John 3:8 (NAS) "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is every one who is born of the Spirit."
Let us not allow the idea of "praying in the Spirit" to be corralled into a "tongues only" code-phrase, for there are many ways to "pray in the Spirit" besides the gift of tongues. Let the Spirit lead us to pray with the type of prayer needed in the moment, with God's power.
Here Is The Full Verse, In Context:
Eph 6:18 (NIV) And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests...
1 Tim 2:1 (Wey) I exhort then, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all men.
Eph 6:18 (TEB) Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads...
Eph 6:18 (Wey) Pray with unceasing prayer and entreaty on every fitting occasion in the Spirit, and be always on the alert to seize opportunities for doing so, with unwearied persistence and entreaty on behalf of all God's people.