The power of your prayer life isn’t rooted in your eloquence or even your determination; the power of your prayer life is in the Holy Spirit.
According to surveys, there’s something that more Americans will do this week than will drive a car or go to work. It’s an activity that almost all Americans say they believe in and most claim it to be very important.
But, if so many people think that prayer is so important, why do so few people report feeling good about their prayer lives? Why does prayer seem to be a struggle? Why do so many feel their prayers are powerless?
Paul’s answer is simple, compelling and direct: “praying at all times in the Spirit….” (Ephesians 6:18) The invitation to “pray in the Spirit” is part of the famous exhortation to put on the whole armor of God. Alongside of donning the helmet of salvation and utilized the shield of faith, we must learn to “pray in the Spirit.” But how?
What does it mean to “pray in the Spirit?”
Many Christians assert that “praying in the Spirit” is one and the same as praying in tongues. I thank God for the gift of tongues – it’s a powerful means of connecting to God in the Spirit. Unlike the day of Pentecost (when the early disciples spoke foreign languages supernaturally) and unlike the prophetic message in tongues (which is for the church’s edification and requires an interpretation), praying in tongues is a personal form of intercession and communion with God. The gift of tongues has, at times, been so overemphasized that it became a point of conflict and, in other circles, it has been so maligned that many Christians shun it without knowing the gift’s real nature. Clearly, from the perspective of the New Testament, it is a good gift that we should desire.
Tongues is a form of “praying in the Spirit.” But not everyone has the gift. Further, Paul is clear, we’re to pray in the Spirit “at all times.” The entirety of our prayer life is to be Spirit-led and Spirit-empowered.
I think there are at least five ways of praying in the Spirit: 1) praying God’s Word; 2) listening to God and praying; 3) partnering in prayer with Christ your Intercessor; 4) praying the God-given desires of your heart; 5) praying with divine love.
Our prayer lives come to life when we are empowered by the Spirit. And that’s the Gospel!