The Holy Spirit And Prayer

The Holy Spirit And Prayer

26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Rom. 8:26-27

This is just a brief take on this grand subject; but I will present it all the same.

It is incredible what we don’t know about God. Actually, we know nothing about God. The Bible says so right there. That means, basically, that we do not know what His will is. But the Holy Spirit who lives in us knows exactly what God’s will is. And therefore He prays for us according to God’s will.

God is a mystery. Even the need to pray talks to us about the mystery of God. Prayer acknowledges that God’s ways are far higher than our ways. So much so that we actually do not just pray to God; but we need the Holy Spirit to intercede for us, so lofty and high is our God. What an unfathomable mystery all these things are!

There are people who deride the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. But it is foolish to do such a thing. Actually, speaking in tongues is a singularly incredible gift from God. It is one of the most direct ways that mortal man can connect with God, for the Bible says,

“For 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 Cor. 14:2)

Notice the Bible acknowledges – states, rather – that there are unknown tongues. So next time you hear a brother or sister speaking in an unknown tongue, just realize you are observing the most wonderful conversation that any mortal man could ever bear witness to.

Moreover, it says that the man or woman who speaks in an unknown tongues speaks mysteries; that he or she speaks mysteries to God. Speaking in an unknown tongue is therefore a direct conversation between man and God deep in the Spirit zone.

But let’s go back to Romans 8:26

“26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

The Bible says that “we know not what we should pray for as we ought”. That is because, as mortals, we are weak. Actually, without the Holy Spirit, we are as weak as Samson was after his hair was shorn off his head. Let me try and explain this in practical terms.

I could be praying; and at the same time the Holy Spirit is praying in me. The Holy Spirit in me might be aware of a need or situation that I am not aware of. The need could be personal, or it could be about another person(s). The Holy Spirit will therefore lead me to pray in the direction of that need, even though I am not intelligibly aware of such a need. The Holy Spirit, by utilizing just my surrendered spirit, will pray in me in tongues, and He will pray over that situation; He will pray over something that in the natural I have not the vaguest idea about. In that way, the Holy Spirit in me will accomplish the will of God!

Moreover, the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

No earthly or human medium can communicate the depth of our needs to God. Only the Holy Spirit can. Can a man groan like the Holy Spirit does? The answer is no. We are too weak for that. But the Holy Spirit utters the deep need we have of God.

God is a mystery; but even the word “mystery” is insufficient to the extent that we want to understand that word with our minds. We want to interpret it according to our intellect. But God is unspeakably far above our intellect. Comparing our intellect with God is the equivalent of trying to launch a spacecraft with a firecracker.

We therefore need to humble ourselves and desire to have all that God has for us, and not to think too highly of our intelligence. It says in 1 Cor. 14:1:

“Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts…”

We are told to desire after spiritual gifts, not deride or make light of them. Spiritual gifts reveal to us the infinite awesomeness of God; and God uses these gifts to work exceedingly great things in our lives.

[We should never make light of the ministry of the Holy Spirit]

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“A Rushing Mighty Wind” (The Work Of The Holy Spirit) – Part 1

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Gal 5:22-23

The work of the Holy Spirit is to produce fruit in us. Just in case you thought He is there only for us to speak in tongues. But first, a preamble.

Speaking in tongues has its place in the church. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 14:4:

He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.”

We see here that one of the reasons the gift of speaking in tongues has been given to us is for us to  edify our own spirits. To “edify” means to build up, to cause to grow. The Bible says that when you speak in tongues you speak mysteries with God (1 Cor. 14:2), and in this way you build up your spirit.

What a truly wonderful experience! That is why every believer should seek the gift of speaking in tongues. The Bible in 1 Cor. 14:1 tells us to “desire” spiritual gifts; and speaking in tongues is one of the spiritual gifts that God has given to the Church.

In the Early Church, speaking tongues was a gift common to the church, as we see in the Book of Acts.

Acts 2:1-4:

“1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Acts 10:44-46:

“44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as any as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.”

Acts 19:1-6:

“1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said unto him, Unto John’s baptism. 4 Then Paul said, John verily baptized the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.”

Notice the Holy Spirit came to God’s people in different forms and in different ways. But His filling up God’s people was always accompanied with speaking in tongues.

Other gifts of the Holy Spirit flowed freely also. In Acts 21:8-9 we read of the evangelist Philip. The Bible says:

“And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.”

Imagine that. Imagine the power of the Holy Spirit that was there for these girls to live such a spiritual life. Four virgins in one house. And they all prophesied. The Early Church was totally given to Christ.

That means there is a problem in the Church today when we fail to emphasize on being filled with the Holy Spirit accompanied with speaking in tongues. Or is it possible that we are a different Church from the Early Church? God forbid.

How does the Holy Spirit come on someone?

The Bible says it is by desiring. The Bible says we are to “desire” spiritual gifts. The gifts of the Holy Spirit come by desiring. The Holy Spirit does not come upon you by being prayed over. You could be prayed over by every servant of God in the world, but if you have not “desired”, He will not come upon you.

But, pray, what does it mean to “desire”?

Desiring speaks of having a hunger for God in you. It says in Isaiah 55:1,

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters…”

When I got saved in the early 90s, there was a hunger for God in the hearts of God’s people. People sought for God. As a result, people were easily filled with the Holy Spirit. One could be filled even as they were being baptized in the water. And they always spoke in tongues.

Today, the dollar sign is up. The charismatic gospel has come to up-end things, and there is a different hunger in the hearts of God’s people. People now want things, not God. They want material prosperity, miracles, and signs and wonders. There is no desire for righteousness, or for the things of God. Today, one would rather fill their pockets with money than speak in tongues!

But we need to get back that old hunger in us; and we shall witness the Holy Spirit moving as “a rushing mighty wind” in the Church. That means the Church will witness a return of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and it will grow spiritually.

The validity of speaking in tongues for every believer is espoused by the Apostle Paul , the foremost of Christ’s apostles, who spoke in tongues ceaselessly whenever he was alone; for he says in 1 Corinthians 14:18,

“I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all…”

If Paul spoke with tongues, we need to desire to do so too. The key word here is desire. Through speaking in tongues, the Bible says we edify our spirits.

The spirit of man needs to be like the Garden of Eden. The Bible says that the Garden was well- watered (Gen. 2:10).

We need to be bubbling with life in every area of our lives. We need to have soft, malleable hearts, where God can easily deposit His spiritual riches.

[The church in Minyughe, Singida. It may not be like the church that was in Philip’s house, but one amazing fact about this church is that there is an entire family of six who are all worship leaders]

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The Holy Spirit For Our Sanctification

The Holy Spirit affects us in three major ways:

  • The Holy Spirit with us
  • The Holy Spirit upon us
  • The Holy Spirit in us

This diversity shows how rich God is. And, just for discussion’s sake, which, amongst these three aspects, would you prefer to find the Holy Spirit ministering to you in if you were asked to choose only one?

Well, none is less needful, but we shall soon see why having the Holy Spirit in us is of the uttermost importance to the born-again believer.

The Holy Spirit with us. When the Holy Spirit comes to be with us He convicts us of many things, as we read in John 16:8-11. The Holy Spirit with us affects even the un-Godly as we see in verses 8-9:

“8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me…”

The ministry of the Holy Spirit with us is therefore broad and all-encompassing.

The Holy Spirit on us. When the Holy Spirit comes upon us, the first sign that He is upon us is that we speak in tongues. Speaking in tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and it has many benefits. In the first place, God, being Spirit, desires that we communicate with Him in spiritual language, and that is why He has given us the gift of tongues. It is far more edifying spiritually to speak to God in tongues than in any earthly language. That is what the Bible says in 1 Cor. 14:1-4.

Secondly, tongues are used to bring prophecy to the church. God uses the ministry of speaking in tongues to bring a direct message from His heart to the church. God then uses other ministries within the church to interpret those tongues. God is so rich!

One of the best examples of this in the Bible is the case of Balaam’s donkey. The donkey wasn’t human, but he spoke in human language when the Holy Spirit came upon him. Now, no donkey will inherit God’s heavenly Kingdom; but the Holy Spirit came upon the donkey and the donkey spoke in tongues and saved Balaam’s life!

As I said, Balaam’s donkey is not going to heaven. That means a donkey cannot be spiritual. Speaking in tongues, therefore, or prophesying in tongues does not mean you are spiritual. Sometimes someone – a preacher, or a believer – can have a rotten spiritual lifestyle, and he knows it. But yet he preaches and miracles happen in his services and, unfortunately, he believes that this makes him spiritual or acceptable to God. But no; that is just the Holy Spirit upon him operating on behalf of God. Again, God is so rich in grace He can allow these kinds of things to happen.

What makes a man acceptable to God, though, is something entirely different, and it is what we will look at next.

The Holy Spirit in us. The Holy Spirit in us is what pleases God most. Why? It is because the heart of man is the place where God has chosen to make His dwelling place. That is an incredible fact, but it is true. God has chosen to live in men’s hearts! When we say God has made the heart His dwelling place, it is talking about man’s spirit.

I am sure none of us would love to live in a dirty house. God therefore works very hard to clean His house. The Bible says,

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).

A clean heart is a holy heart! People love talking about grace, but here and elsewhere, scripture makes it clear that grace comes with a responsibility. We are commanded to be holy if we ever hope to “see the Lord”! The permissive grace that many people love talking of is certainly not of God.

Something – a change – definitely needs to happen in our hearts. The Holy Spirit in us is where God operates upon our hearts to bring about this change. Here God reveals to us the reality of the spiritual life. He shows us, just as He did with the Apostle Paul, how much we must suffer for the gospel’s sake.

What does it mean to suffer for the gospel’s sake? It is the cleansing process. It is the uprooting of the old man of our carnal nature. True Christian life is a transformation. God wants our hearts to be transformed to become like His – pure and holy.

God knows, for example, that if I have envy in my heart I will not inherit His eternal life. But He knows exactly what is needed to transform me. God therefore gets to work to deal with my envy. He raises up a huge stumbling block in my life to deal with that envy. As long as I am willing, God will use that stumbling block to chip away at my envy down to its roots. God’s working in my life becomes my “thorn in the flesh”, but it produces the sweet fruit of a sanctified life.

It was for this reason that the early apostles welcomed suffering in their lives. They knew what it would do in them. It would transform them!

May we allow the Holy Spirit to have His way in us. He is there to sanctify us. Suffering – giving up our earthly rights – may last for a night, but the morning is coming. The reward for this sanctification is unfathomable.

[Below: The old Indian Quarter in Musoma Town]

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