February 23rd – Praying In The Spirit



I have just read another article on praying together in the Spirit. It repeated over and over that without the Holy Spirit’s presence, no prayer is possible. Amen to that. It went on about our blocking and quenching the Spirit, and of course that is scriptural and right. Then why did I feel a bit frustrated by it, instead of being stimulated to pray more deeply and more often with my fellow Christians, and therefore more effectively? I suppose it was because I could not get past the sense that the writer felt he knew that he could detect and recognise when the Spirit is present and when He isn’t! I had the feeling I was being urged by this writer to ‘do it his way’ or it couldn’t work. Now no one could quarrel with the point of the article that only when the people praying together acknowledged the Lordship of Christ and the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit could there be any praying in the Spirit. My question was, how do we know when a prayer group is Spirit-filled, and when it isn’t? I’ve been in prayer meetings over the decades where the ‘amens’ were loud and fervent, where everyone wanted to pray out loud, also where there was the silence of the cemetery, as well as the silence of wordless awesomeness. But I have never been in prayer meetings where the presence of God was so powerful that “the place was shaken and all were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:31). I have been in meetings filled with enthusiasm, or complacency, or filled with noise, or were empty of anything but our sense of routine under an obligation to pray – but not so filled with the Spirit that everyone present was transformed by holy power and lit with inextinguishable flame, with great signs and wonders following.
So I say to you: ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds;and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11: 9-13
A Prayer: Lord, teach us to pray, lest we seek to be led by men into a technique or a formula, or how to say our prayers. Lord, by your Spirit teach us to pray.
Now read Acts Chapter 10.

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