Tag Archives: Prayer

Spiritual Warfare #12 ~ Praying in the Spirit

          One of the greatest tragedies in the Church is the confusion we have about the Holy Spirit. Even among groups that emphasize the Holy Spirit and His role in the Church, we see different beliefs, expressions, and practices, many of which are contradictory.

We see throughout the Bible that mishandling of holy things brings serious consequences. How much more the Holy Spirit of God living inside us?

It is important that we rightly divide truth concerning the Holy Spirit.

In this lesson we will address the practice of praying in the Spirit and define what exactly praying in the Spirit is. While some limit praying in the Spirit to praying God’s word, others say that praying in the Spirit is only praying with other tongues. Still, others reject praying with other tongues altogether. Our lack of agreement reveals our overall lack of understanding.

Effective spiritual warfare requires an understanding of praying in the Spirit, so lets bring some clarity from God’s word and put all other opinions to rest.

The first thing we must understand is that praying in the Spirit is praying ANY prayer under the inspiration and direction of the Holy Spirit. Look at our instruction in Ephesians.

Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

          Our instruction is that all prayer is to be done “in the Spirit.” The prayer of salvation, prayers of sanctification, prayers of dedication, prayers of intercession, prayers of repentance, the prayer of faith, prayers of thanksgiving, and yes, praying with other tongues. They are ALL to be prayed “in the Spirit.” So, what does that look like?

          Everything God does is relational. Prayer is no exception. Many of us have allowed our devotional time to become mechanical and lifeless. We run through a prayer list and read our daily devotional, never spending time in silent reverence so we can connect with the one we are talking to. Having a daily devotional is commendable. Having a daily devotional and never actually connecting intimately with our Father is tragic. Praying in the Spirit requires communion, not just conversation.

com·mun·ion – the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.

          If all we do is pray from our limited thinking, our prayer life will lack the authority to bear much fruit. I am not saying that praying with our natural understanding is wrong, but let this be a launching point, a positioning of the heart and mind to a place of stillness and quiet so we can be receptive to the influence of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians makes it clear that we need both.

1 Corinthians 14:15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. 

          Praying usually starts in the natural, but as we approach God in prayer to partner with Him we should be expecting supernatural utterance to come from our own lips. Praying in the Spirit requires us to connect our thoughts and our attention to the Holy Spirit inside us, praying out, and praying into what rises in our hearts. Praying in the Spirit requires dependence upon His leading and a willingness to follow even when it doesn’t seem to make sense.

          All prayer should should be approached with humility. Hearing His voice and sensing His direction becomes easy when we have a humble heart. Humility gives us a higher perspective and brings us to the place with the greatest light. Everything becomes clear from a place of humility. It is the place of greatest sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Humility before God brings His grace on the scene and our prayers become filled with His divine influence and direction.

James 4:6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

          When we approach God in prayer, we should recognize that we are here for His good pleasure. It is His will, His agenda, and His purpose we are pursuing, even when we are praying for ourselves. We need His involvement, His instruction, and His direction. When we approach God with an awareness that we have an audience with the Creator of the universe, we are more likely to have a listening ear than simply a running mouth. Mindless recital of prayer should become a thing of the past and effective fervent prayer a lifestyle.

James 5:13-16  Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

          If you arrive at a place in prayer with the perspective described above, you are praying in the Spirit whether it be in a known or unknown tongue.

Concerning praying in tongues, there seems to be confusion and division over this practice more than any other form of prayer. Praying in tongues is clearly a New Testament doctrine and I see no scriptural evidence of it ending or being “done away with.” However I see a lot of misunderstanding and unbiblical demonstration throughout the Church so I will address this. But first, I will share my personal experience with the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

In November of 1988, a few weeks after being born again, being completely unchurched, and having had no exposure to any teaching about praying in tongues, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues while alone in my bedroom.

I was reading the book of Acts for the second time and I could see clearly that there was more available to me than what I was currently experiencing, so I prayed, “Lord if there is more of You available to me, I want it.” and the Lord baptized me in His Holy Spirit.

When the Spirit of God came on me I felt amazing power like electricity all over my body and it felt like my tongue was as big around as a soda can. I could hear in my head these crazy sounding words and syllables but at first I resisted saying them out of my mouth because this was all very strange to me. When I finally did yield to what was bubbling up inside of me I said a few sentences in an unknown tongue and then stopped because it freaked me out a bit. I could not deny however, that I had a genuine experience and felt the power of God all over me, I just didn’t understand what happened.

No one taught me, no one prayed over me, no one laid hands on me. I simply saw it in His word and asked for it. God is good!

Here is my concern from over 30 years of observation. Many that claim to have the baptism of the Holy Spirit speak a sentence or two and just repeat the same thing over and over. This is the limit of their “prayer language.” I have seen some people repeatedly give “messages from the Lord” by tongues and interpretation, but using the same few words in tongues over and over again, maybe changing the order of the words a bit. However, the interpretation is always different.

I am not saying these people have not been baptized in the Spirit, I just question their understanding and their expression to the body of Christ. I believe that some things are out of order.

Are they being done with an understanding that they are handling holy things and representing a Holy God? Is it being done in the fear of the Lord? Are these things edifying the Church? It is a serious thing to speak publicly and claim these words are from the Lord.

My understanding of scripture is that praying in tongues is necessary, but should be limited in a public setting unless accompanied by an interpretation. 1 Corinthians 14 addresses this issue.

1 Corinthians 14:22-25 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. 23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.

How we represent God in any setting is a serious thing. We are responsible as individuals be an example to others to the best of our ability. We are all at different places in our journey with the Lord and should not be too quick to follow others examples unless we are confident that they represent the Holy Spirit well.

We can all grow in our understanding, our humility, and our fear of the Lord. Let us not put God in the miniscule box of our limited experience. Instead, lets ask Him to elevate our experience and understanding to match the Bible.

Praying in the Spirit is a beautiful thing. It is yielding to the influence of the Holy Spirit, letting Him define us and shape us as we pray in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication.

Pray without ceasing! Love Him well! Be Blessed!

For more teaching on Spiritual Warfare, CLICK HERE.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

Praying in the Spirit explained

          There seems to be confusion in many church circles about praying in the Spirit and what exactly praying in the Spirit is. Many Charismatics limit praying in the Spirit to only praying in tongues. This is not true. Praying in the Spirit is not just praying with other tongues but praying ANY prayer under the inspiration and direction of the Holy Spirit. Look at our instruction in Ephesians.

Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

          ALL prayer is to be done “in the Spirit.” The prayer of salvation, prayers of sanctification, prayers of dedication, prayers of intercession, prayers of repentance, the prayer of faith, prayers of thanksgiving and adoration are all to be prayed “in the Spirit.”

So, what does that look like? What does this mean? How do we get there?

          Everything God does is relational. Prayer is no exception. Many of us have allowed our devotionals to become mechanical and lifeless. We run through our prayer list and read our daily devotional to fulfill our religious duty and never even take time to be silent and connect with the one we are talking to. Having a daily devotional is commendable. Having a daily devotional and never actually connecting intimately with your Father is tragic.

Powerless, fruitless, and lifeless is prayer apart from the Spirit.

          I am not saying that praying with the mind and natural understanding is wrong, but let this be a launching point, a positioning of the heart and mind to a place of stillness and quiet. 1 Corinthians makes it clear that we need both.

1 Corinthians 14:10-15 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. 12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. 

          Praying in the Spirit can start in the natural. As we approach God boldly in the natural, the anticipation of God speaking to us and leading us should bring us great joy, accompanied by a reverent fear of the Almighty.

          In prayer, we must arrive at a proper place of humility so hearing His voice and sensing His direction becomes easy. The place of humility is the place with the greatest light. Everything becomes clearer from a humble perspective. It is also the place of greatest sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

          Understand when communicating with God that we are here for His good pleasure. It is His will, His agenda, and His purpose we are pursuing. Not ours. Truly, we can do nothing of ourselves. We need God’s involvement. We need His instruction. We need His direction. If we approach Him with the awareness that we have an audience with the King of the universe, we will do less talking, and much more listening.

          If we arrive at a place in prayer with the perspective I just described, we are praying in the Spirit whether it be in a known or unknown tongue.

          Let us not put God in the miniscule box of our limited understanding. Instead of limiting Him to our experience and understanding of His word, lets ask Him to elevate our experience and understanding to match the Bible. Let Him define us and shape us by praying in the Spirit with ALL PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION.

Love Him well! Be Blessed!

For more teaching on Spiritual Warfare, CLICK HERE.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

The Discipline of Watching

watch

Understanding Watchfulness

         What did Jesus mean when He said “Watch and Pray?”

Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

          Just what are we watching for?

         I remember going to a store one day and remaining in the car while my friends went in to do some shopping. In the car next to me was this little dog sitting in the driver’s seat staring intently at the door of the store. This little dog would not take his eyes off that door. Every time the automatic doors would slide open the little dog’s ears would perk up. He would stand with his front paws on the steering wheel panting, wide eyed and tail wagging expectantly. Time and time again people would come out of the door that was not his master and the dog would return to his intense watchful position, not disappointed, but with an obvious understanding that one of these times it will be his master, he had only to wait patiently.

watch3.png         As I watched this dog the Lord showed me through this simple illustration that this is what He is talking about when He said “watch.” Eventually the little dog’s master did exit the door. His excitement and enthusiasm came unhinged! I could hear his happy little whines and yelps as he watched his master walk strait to the car. His love and appreciation for his owner was unquestionable.

         They could not have been apart for more than 30 minutes, yet the dog greeted his owner like he had been missing him for a month. To this dog, his master was the most precious person on the planet, and could not bear to be apart from him for any length of time. It was so obvious this dog loved his master with everything that was in him.

         What would it be like if we saw our Heavenly Father this way? What difference would it make in our lives? How would it affect our relationship with Him? What would it do to our perception of life? How would it affect our joy? Our peace? Our faith?

         After seeing this little dog I am convinced that we often take the Lord for granted. That we don’t really relate to Him like He is the creator of the universe, the master of ALL. Our hearts are divided, our minds are distracted and we allow other things matter more than what should matter most.

         The Bible says to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all our needs will be met. (Matt 6:33) Yet we continue to approach God with our laundry list of needs and wants like He wasn’t serious when He said that.

         The gospel of Jesus Christ is about living a life with a very narrow, focused perspective. To maintain that perspective we must be imitators of Jesus. Jesus said this:

John 5:19-20 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.

         Jesus ONLY did what He saw. Jesus was able to do what He did because He constantly practiced watching the Father. He truly did “seek first the Kingdom of God.” Could this be a big reason that we don’t see the level of supernatural life that we read about in the book of Acts?

         The discipline of watching moves us from being a child/servant to a mature son. It is only the mature sons that can receive an inheritance. (Gal 4:1-2)

         The discipline of watching creates an awareness of God that puts all of life in proper perspective. The more we keep our attention and focus on Him, the clearer we become on who He really is and who we really are to Him.

         Being watchful produces an integrity of heart that makes resisting temptation easy.

         Being watchful keeps you prepared to face anything that life would dish out to you.

          Being watchful produces humility and He gives His grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:5James 4:6-7)

          Being watchful may be the most important part of prayer. When we practice watching, we know what to pray for and how to pray. We know what to do and how to do it. We position ourselves to be a trusted vessel that the Father can use to flow through.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

Maintaining an Awareness of God

awareness

          Have you looked back on your life and realized that there were times that you felt closer to God than others? The anointing was stronger, God seemed to be moving more in your life and you were noticeably more focused on Him? I have experienced this myself and questioned God about it. His answer was simple, yet profound. He said: “At those times you were more aware of Me, more conscious of Me.”

          I began to see the importance of maintaining a “God Awareness.” Furthermore, I realized that the responsibility of maintaining that awareness fell to me. With that realization I began to think about what produces and awareness of God and what pulls me out of that awareness.

          2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The principle is this: “WE BECOME WHAT WE BEHOLD.”

awar.png

Matthew 6:22 The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, (single, clear) your whole body will be full of light. 

          What we continually look at has a profound effect on our lives. We must be particular about what we allow ourselves to behold. Our perspective determines the amount of light we have, how bright we shine, and how full of light we really are.

Presence vs. Principle

          Another trick the enemy uses is to get us to substitute knowing God, for knowing about God.

1 Peter 1:2-4 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

          The word “knowledge” in the above verse indicates an intimate knowledge that unites you with the object or person it is talking about. It indicates a personal experience with instead of merely knowing about. There is a huge difference.

          If we read a biography on the life of any given person, we can acquire a great deal of knowledge about that person, but unless we actually spend time with the person, we can’t honestly say that we know them.

          As a people, Christians have been duped into believing that knowledge of God’s word is the equivalent of knowing Him personally. We understand the principles and grasp the concepts of faith but we don’t really know God because we don’t spend time in intimacy with Him. Talking to Him, asking questions, listening for His response, being still before Him and quietly meditating on who He are all roads that lead to intimacy with Him. We can’t begin to wrap our head around who He is by only reading His word. We must also spend time in the light of His presence. Both are needed to mature, and both are needed to effectively live and walk by faith.

          We learn the principles of God’s amazing Word and then we try to live by these principles in our own strength. If we spend as much time with God as we do learning about God our awareness of His abiding presence will produce a walk of faith that keeps us living and abiding in holiness. Instant obedience becomes natural and resisting temptation becomes effortless.

          If Jesus appeared to us physically, and was with us every minute of every day, would we have a problem resisting sin? Would we have a problem obeying His word? We would be so acutely aware of our every action and word  that we would only do and say those things that pleased Him. This is how Jesus lived His life. He set the example for us to follow.

John 5:19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 

John 8:28 Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.

John 12:49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.

awareness exper.jpg          The more time we spend alone with our Heavenly Father, the more awareness of His presence we will walk in throughout our day.

          Awareness of God births the character of God, the nature of God, and the faith of God within us. Awareness of His abiding presence makes us more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and His leading. Awareness of God helps us to see others how God sees them and therefore opens the door for us to minister Christ to them more effectively.

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC

The Power Of Stillness

 StillnessGod-Speaks.png

          One of the hardest things we will ever do in our prayer life is …NOTHING! Ok, nothing isn’t quite the word we are looking for. Silent Waiting is a better way to say it.

          Waiting in silence, expecting God to reveal Himself to us, is a powerful and fruitful endeavor. Quietly meditating on who He is and what He has spoken to us in His word or by His Spirit is an amazing exercise of our faith and is very pleasing to our Father.

Psalm 23:2-3 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

          The Good Shepherd, by the Holy Spirit, is always trying to lead us to a place of peace and stillness. It is a place of refreshing and restoration. It is a place to find direction and discern the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

Stillness-is-power

          Waiting on God renews our strength.

          The practice of silent meditation upon God and His word fills up our spiritual gas tanks and empowers us to run well.

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

          It is in the Stillness that God is known. Reading God’s word and listening to preaching and teaching helps us to know about God, but spending time in His presence is what we need to actually know Him intimately. God is raising up a people in this generation that will live life from the outflow of His presence, rather than merely living by the principles in His word.

“In our stillness before Him, He prepares us to host His presence.”

Psalm 62:1 Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. Psalm 62:5-6 My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved.

“Silently waiting on God anchors our soul.”

          When life throws us a curve ball, when things get tough and it seems like we are pressed on every side with problems, difficulties and even attacks of the enemy. Silently waiting on God and thinking about His goodness, His greatness, His faithfulness and His amazing love for us gives us strength to stand in faith and trust in His tender mercies and his power to deliver us out of all our troubles.

Isaiah 30:15 For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” But you would not,

          Quietness and stillness should be practiced individually and corporately to keep us from trusting in the world and its systems. The Lord is speaking through Isaiah a strong word of correction to His people for trusting in Egypt for their strength and salvation instead of Him. Unfortunately, they would not have it.

          In this age of distractions and constant movement it is vitally important that we practice stillness in God’s presence.

Be-Still.png

“Peace is the frequency of God. Being still before the Lord tunes us in to this frequency to hear the still small voice of the Spirit.”

Thank you for visiting truthpressure.com. I hope this has been a blessing to you.

JC