Monday, September 19, 2011

Reason To Pray In the Spirit #6 - Richard Carender

Praying in the spirit is the most effectual and productive time with God.  The more we talk with him the more He reveals to us.  Revelation—insight—is a hallmark of personal, intimate conversation.  Would you agree with me that the best way to develop a deep and lasting relationship is to communicate?  When we pray in the spirit our conversation is TO Him, ABOUT Him and FOR Him!  In return He speaks TO us, ABOUT us and FOR us.

This reason has particular significance to me.  I pray it speaks to you as well.

Paul said, “I thank my God that I pray in tongues more than you all…”  I cannot prove it by scripture but I am more inclined to believe that he may have prayed in the spirit ALL the time except when he was interacting with people.  Furthermore, I believe a case can be made that the early church may have spoken in tongues so much that Paul had to write letters to them explaining the proper use of tongues.

Some months ago, after I had already 1developed the habit of praying in the spirit, I began to feel as if I was cheating in my prayer life because it was much easier to pray in tongues than it was to formulate and articulate prayers in the language I understood.  I actually talked to the Lord about it.  I also wrote about it.  What the Lord told me and showed me changed the way I pray to this very day.  This series of “reasons” is a result of what He revealed to me.  There is a time to pray in the spirit and there is a time to pray with the understanding.  When God talks to me he doesn’t speak in a language I cannot understand.  By the same token, when I need or want to know something I don’t ask in my prayer language. 

Lack of communication is perhaps the number one cause of failure in human relationships.  It is almost certainly the greatest cause of failure in our relationship with God.  See, we don’t have adequate language to explain to Him the thoughts and intents of our heart.  On the other side, He wants us to know Him more intimately day by day but He is only able to give us very minute amounts of revelation knowledge.  That is why praying in the spirit is so vitally important. The fact of the matter is that language is communication.  Language is a tool for expressing thoughts and ideas.  The languages of men TO men can be and often are misinterpreted and misunderstood; but the language of God given to men is always on point, never subject to misinterpretation or misunderstanding.

Pray in the Spirit, yes!  But do not neglect to pray with knowledge and understanding.  In your personal prayer time be careful to not abdicate your responsibility to pray with understanding..  As Pentecostal believers we sometimes tend to lapse into our “prayer language” rather than doing the difficult work of formulating an intelligent prayer.  That requires being full of the Word as well as the Spirit. If you have the knowledge of the Word and you are still unable to pray with understanding, the Spirit will intercede for you.  If you have the knowledge but simply don’t want to make the effort your prayer may well go unsaid.  

Psalm 34:  1 I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. 2 My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. 3 Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together. 4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. 6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. 8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. 9 Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. 10 The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. 11 Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12 Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, 13 keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. 14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; 16 the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. 17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. 18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19 A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; 20 he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. 21 Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. 22 The LORD redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.

*praying in the spirit does not come naturally to us but supernaturally.  It is, in fact, a spiritual exercise that must be practiced regularly in order to become proficient.  Just as your body grows stronger with regular exercise and your language improves with speaking, so your spirit grows stronger as you become more articulate in your prayer language.