I am researching a potential article about “praying in the Spirit.” Have you ever wondered what that means? See Ephesians 6:18 and Jude 1:20-21.
I decided to research this after I had the most wonderful prayer session the other day. I was sitting in my prayer chair, and, as often happens, I felt this delicious tingling course through my body. I have come to recognize this as the presence of the Holy Spirit, and I always welcome the knowledge that He is alive and well within me.
But this particular prayer session was different, because the tingling did not stop. As I continued to pray, the tingling went on and on. My prayer sessions in my prayer chair can go from half an hour to an hour, and since the tingling did not start at the beginning of my prayer, I’m not sure how long I experienced it, but it went on until I concluded my prayer. When I was done, I was so thrilled, I asked the Lord to let me always pray like that.
I wondered: is this what “praying in the Spirit” is? Of course, the writer in me immediately sensed a wonderful new topic to dive into, and today I literally went through every single verse that alluded to “praying in the Spirit” or “in the Spirit.” Why did Paul and Jude specifically instruct the church to “pray in the Spirit”? They seemed very emphatic about it–could this signify that more power would accompany their prayers? And how would they know if they were doing so or not?
My M.O. with writing articles is to research first, and then pray and chew on it for a few days, because the Holy Spirit always gives me insights that I did not have when I was first reading. I haven’t heard from the Holy Spirit yet, but I will talk about my first impressions upon recording the 25 verses which I feel relate to “praying in the Spirit.”
First of all, whenever the Spirit is present, power always accompanies Him. And when the Spirit falls upon someone, His presence is usually manifested by some outward sign. Another thing I find fascinating is that when people in the Bible were “in the Spirit,” they knew. Take a look at Isaiah 61:1: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…” How did he know? I think it’s because the experience was unearthly. And in Ezekiel’s visions (Ezekiel 2:2 and 3:24), he knew when the Spirit entered him.
It’s important to note the difference in semantics here. Having the Holy Spirit and being in the Spirit are two different things. The apostle John who clearly had the Holy Spirit, said that he was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day…” (Rev. 1:10) just before our Lord Jesus appeared to him in all His glory.
It seems that being “in the Spirit” and thus, “praying in the Spirit” is an intentional thing. John knew that it was the Lord’s day (sabbath), and was praying in the Spirit. It seems that we can intentionally pray in the Spirit, and the Spirit will respond and give us a manifestation of His presence and His power.
Did I intentionally pray in the Spirit when I experienced the tingling sensation that went on for some time? Maybe not intentionally, but I did ask for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon me.
As Christians, we have the wonder and power of the Holy Spirit available to us, yet how many of us call upon Him to fall upon us afresh? How many of us ask for His power expectantly? How many of us intentionally “pray in the Spirit”? (This is not a judgment call, because I’m 51 and I’m just now getting it.)
I hope you earnestly seek to “pray in the Spirit.” This is not something you can do in traffic or in the shower. Set some time aside, focus on the object of your affection (our Lord Jesus Christ), and ask to “pray in the Spirit.” He will not disappoint you.