Ephesians Pt 26 Praying in the Spirit

Ephesians 6:18(ESV)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,

Prayer is Communication with the Father, our Creator. Before Salvation we have no communication with the Father. Just the fact that People like us can speak to the Creator of the universe is itself an amazing thing. Even more astounding is the fact that He hears us and acts on our behalf! The first thing we need to understand about effective prayer is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had to suffer and die on the cross to even make it possible for us to approach the throne of grace to worship and pray.

Praying in the Spirit is mentioned three times in Scripture.
1 Corinthians 14:15 (ESV)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.
Ephesians 6:18(ESV)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,
Jude 20 (ESV)20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,
So, what exactly does it mean to pray in the Spirit? First of all you have to be saved. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the action by which God takes up permanent residence in the body of a believer in Jesus Christ. Jesus revealed to His disciples the new role the Spirit of Truth would play in their lives: John 14:16-17 (ESV)16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John Bunyan – There is no man nor church in the world that can come to God in prayer, but by the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, man is so weak that he cannot think one right saving thought of God, of Christ, or of his blessed things; and therefore the Word of God declares about the man without the Spirit, Psalm 10:4(ESV)In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”; unless it is that they imagine God to be basically like one of them (Psalm 50:21). For “every inclination of the thoughts of [unsaved man’s] heart is only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5; 8:21). Thus, since unbelievers are not able to correctly conceive who God is, the very God to whom they pray, the Christ through whom they pray, nor of the things for which they pray, as was shown before, then how will they be able to address themselves to God, without the help of the Holy Spirit?

The acceptable prayer to God must, in the outward expression, and as well in the inward intention, come from what the soul understands by the illumination of the Holy Spirit; otherwise the prayer is condemned as a vain abomination, because the heart and tongue do not agree, neither can they, unless the Spirit help us in our weakness.

Without Jesus the only prayer God hears is that of repentance. If you are not saved God is not obligated to listen to any of your prayers. 

Isaiah 59:1-2(HCSB) Indeed, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, and His ear is not too deaf to hear. 2 But your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide His face from you so that He does not listen.

Psalms 66:17-19 (HCSB)I cried out to Him with my mouth, and praise was on my tongue.18 If I had been aware of malice in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. 19  However, God has listened; He has paid attention to the sound of my prayer.

Fortunately, 1 John 1:9 (HCSB)if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness

The Greek word translated “pray in” can have several different meanings. It can mean “by means of,” “with the help of,” “in the sphere of,” and “in connection to.” Praying in the Spirit does not refer to the words we are saying. Rather, it refers to how we are praying. Praying in the Spirit is praying according to the Spirit’s leading. It is praying for things the Spirit leads us to pray for. Romans 8:26 (ESV)26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Jesus taught his disciples how not to pray before teaching them how to pray.

Matthew 6:5-8(ESV)5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Some, based on 1 Corinthians 14:15, equate praying in the Spirit with praying in tongues. Discussing the gift of tongues, Paul mentions “pray with my spirit.” 1 Corinthians 14:14 states that when a person prays in tongues, he does not know what he is saying, since it is spoken in a language he does not know. Further, no one else can understand what is being said, unless there is an interpreter (1 Corinthians 14:27-28). In Ephesians 6:18, Paul instructs us to “pray 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,” How are we to pray with all kinds of prayers and requests and pray for the saints, if no one, including the person praying, understands what is being said? Therefore, praying in the Spirit should be understood as praying in the power of the Spirit, by the leading of the Spirit, and according to His will, not as praying in tongues.

1 Corinthians 14:14(ESV)14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. In both cases they have misrepresented the intention of those verses. The first verse they assume, speaking in an unknown tongue, builds someone up, when in fact; Paul was saying it in a negative sense. It puffs your ego, or it, at best, if you do it in private, would benefit you, which would be selfish and contrary to any proper use of spiritual gifts and the second one, “If I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, and my understanding is unfruitful,” is a way to say, “Don’t do that, because what’s the point in having an unfruitful understanding?”

The gift of tongues is viewed as a holy, mystical ability that somehow operates in a person’s spirit and comes out the mouth and bypasses the mind. Many Charismatics are even told they have to purposefully switch off their mind to enable the gift to function, that’s pretty much the pattern. I’ve sat in on a number of sessions where people were endeavoring to teach someone how to speak in tongues, and they always follow that same format. Usually they say something like this, “Don’t think of anything, try to empty your mind of any conscious thought, then start to just babble like a baby”

Charles and Francis Hunter, who travel all across the world in healing explosion meetings, have as a part of their curriculum the seminars in which they teach people how to speak in tongues. They have as many as 50,000 people in some of their meetings. Charles Hunter tells people, and I quote, “When you pray with your spirit you do not think of the sounds of the language. Just trust God, but make the sounds when I tell you too. In just a moment, when I tell you, begin loving and praising God by speaking forth a lot of different syllable sounds. At first make the sounds rapidly so you won’t try to think as you do in speaking your natural language. Make the sounds loudly at first so you can easily hear what you are saying.”

That’s an interesting contradiction. Hunter doesn’t explain what point there is in hearing what you are saying since your mind isn’t engaged anyway, but he continually reminds his audience they’re not supposed to be thinking. He says, “The reason some of you don’t speak fluently, is that you try to think of the sounds so when we pray this prayer and you start speaking in your heavenly language don’t try to think,” end quote. Later he adds, quote, “You don’t even have to think in order to pray in the Spirit,” end quote.

If it’s the spirit then why you have to be taught?

Now remember, all of this is a occurring with absolutely no understanding of what you’re saying. You have no comprehension of what it is you’re saying, and yet it is supposed to bring you into the deep understanding and intimate communion with God.
You might ask the question, “What then is wrong with such an experience?” Well, on the one hand, there really isn’t anything particularly evil or immoral about it if you just disassociate it from the Bible and disassociate it from Christianity, and if you get some pleasure out of standing in a corner all by yourself or sitting in your room alone and talking gibberish to yourself and that does something for you, then I suppose in and of itself, from a psychological standpoint, that it’s not a moral issue, it may be harmless. If something makes you feel good or makes you feel somehow better in control of your life, or like you’ve had some warm experience, so be it, but don’t call it intimacy with God. Don’t say it makes you spiritually stronger. Don’t say it makes you delirious with spiritual joy.

Then ask yourself the question, could I, through this means be deceived? Could this be dangerous? The answer to that question has to be yes.
The problem I have with the tongues is that people have used that as a spiritual pinnacle and if you don’t speak in tongues then you don’t have the Holy Spirit.I even heard this” when you speak in tongues the devil can’t understand you” Really?! If tongues is a “language of the angels” what was Satan? A cherub He was higher than the angels, he was the most beautiful of all the angels, you don’t think he knows the language? Some counter that with well after he fell he lost his ability? Really?! Satan gets summoned to Heaven to speak with God. Job 1:6-7(ESV)6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”
If we say those things we are stating incorrect unbiblical statements, and we are saying God doesn’t understand English or that God will hear my prayers because its in a heavenly language, that statement is so prideful!!

I personally heard and know of people who have severe PORN addictions but can speak and pray in Tongues!!!!! I was told multiple times “Brother if you don’t learn how to speak in tongues your will never have a powerful prayer life” My answer was always “What Verse?” But I have a couple for them….

James 5:15-16(ESV)15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

1 Peter 3:7(ESV)7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

1 Peter 3:10-12(ESV)10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 

1 Peter 4:7(ESV) 7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

Statement made by John Wesley. He understood something about prayer that we must understand: “It seems that without God, man cannot – and without man, God will not.”

What did he mean by that?

– It seems that on earth, man can do nothing without God – but there is another reality: God will not do anything on earth without man.

The principle is: There has to be a partnership between man and God in order for things to be happening on earth.

– So what happens on earth depends on you!

– To understand prayer, here is a simple definition of prayer:

Prayer is the earthly license for Heavenly interference.

Therefore: Nothing on earth can happen without the cooperation between God and humans.

– That is how powerful you are.

– God Himself cannot interfere in this planet without your license and permission that

He gave you.

-This sounds un-believable – but if you don’t believe this – it is why your prayers

aren’t answered, you don’t see results, you are still sick, don’t have what you need,

you are just performing a religious exercise in your prayer life.

“We get the mind of God about His will, we pray it. When we pray it, we give him legal right to perform it” (BENNY HINN).

“Yes. Let me define prayer for you in this show. Prayer is man giving God permission, or license, to interfere in earth’s affairs. In other words, prayer is earthly license for heavenly interference….God can do nothing on earth, nothing has God ever done on earth without a human giving him access….Always looking for a human to give him power of permission. In other words, God has the power, but you got the permission. God got the authority and the power, but you got the license. So even though God can do anything, he can only do what you permit him to do” (MYLES MUNROE).

We can create barriers to effective prayer with the Father

1. Praying with selfish desires and wrong motives. James 4:3(ESV) When you ask you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures”.

2. Rejecting God’s call or ignoring His advice Proverbs 1:24-28 (HCSB)24 Since I called out and you refused, extended my hand and no one paid attention, 25 since you neglected all my counsel and did not accept my correction, 26 I, in turn, will 27  when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when trouble and stress overcome you.28  Then they will call me, but I won’t answer; they will search for me, but won’t find me. 

3. Worshipping idols (Jeremiah 11:11-14(ESV)11 Therefore, thus says the Lord, Behold, I am bringing disaster upon them that they cannot escape. Though they cry to me, I will not listen to them. 12 Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they make offerings, but they cannot save them in the time of their trouble. 13 For your gods have become as many as your cities, O Judah, and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to shame, altars to make offerings to Baal.14 “Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.

4. Turning a deaf ear to the cry of the poor Proverbs 21:13(HCSB) The one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will himself also call out and not be answered.

Effective Prayer

Although the Bible offers a great deal of guidance on how we can deepen our communication with the Creator, effective prayer has more to do with the one doing the praying than it does with “how” we are to pray. Indeed, Scripture says in James 5:16 (HCSB) 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect., and in

1 Peter 3:12(HCSB)because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their request. But the face of the Lord is against those who do what is evil. 

Psalm 34:15 (HCSB)The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry for help. and, again in Proverbs 15:8(HCSB) The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight. Prayer saved the righteous Daniel from the lion’s den (Daniel 6:11), and in the wilderness, God’s chosen people benefitted from Moses’ right standing with God (Exodus 16–17). The barren Hannah’s steadfast and humble prayers resulted in the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 1:20), and the apostle Paul’s prayers even caused the earth to shake (Acts 16:25-26). Clearly, the passionate prayers of God’s righteous children can accomplish much (Numbers 11:2).

We also need to make sure that our prayers are in line with God’s will.

1 John 5:13-15(HCSB) 13 I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.14 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for. Praying in accordance with God’s will is essentially praying in accord with what He would want, and we can see God’s revealed will throughout Scripture.

Additionally, prayer is something believers should do “constantly”
1 Thessalonians 5:17(HCSB)Pray constantly. When we present our requests to God, we are to pray with faith, with thanksgiving, with a spirit of forgiveness toward others in Christ’s name, with a heart that is right with God. It’s the strength of our faith, not the length of our prayers that pleases Him to whom we pray, so we don’t need to impress God with our eloquence or intelligence. After all, God knows what our needs are even before we ask. Also, we should make sure we have no unconfessed sin in our hearts when we pray, as this would certainly be an impediment to effective prayer.

Jesus is pretty serious when it comes to his Father’s house and prayer. Jesus’ first cleansing of the temple is described in John 2:13–17(HCSB) 13 The Jewish Passover was near, so Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple complex He found people selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and He also found the money changers sitting there. 15 After making a whip out of cords, He drove everyone out of the temple complex with their sheep and oxen. He also poured out the money changers’ coins and overturned the tables. 16 He told those who were selling doves, “Get these things out of here! Stop turning My Father’s house into a marketplace!” 17 And His disciples remembered that it is written: Zeal for Your house will consume Me. This cleansing occurred just after Jesus’ first miracle, turning of water into wine at the wedding in Cana. This is the first of the two times Jesus cleansed the temple. The second cleansing of the temple occurred just after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem during the last week of His life.
Matthew 21:12-13(HCSB)12 Jesus went into the temple complex and drove out all those buying and selling in the temple. He overturned the money changers’ tables and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, My house will be called a house of prayer. But you are making it a den of thieves!” Think of this: Jesus doesn’t call the temple a home for God, a beautiful establishment, a country club, a social gathering, nor a hospital, He calls it a “House of Prayer”. Jesus got so fired up about His Father’s house not being a house of prayer, he fashioned a whip and went after it. He cleansed the temple not once but twice!

Far too often, prayer is viewed as a “magic formula.” Some believe that if we do not say exactly the right things, or pray in the right position, God will not hear and answer our prayer. This is completely unbiblical. God does not answer our prayers based on when we pray, where we are, what position our body is in, or in what order we word our prayers. We are told in 1 John 5:14-15 (HCSB)14 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for. We are to have confidence when we come to God in prayer, knowing that He hears us and will grant whatever we ask as long as it is in His will. Similarly,
John 14:13-14 (HCSB)13 Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. According to these and many other Scriptures, God answers prayer requests based on whether they are asked according to His will and in the name of Jesus (to bring glory to Jesus).

The revelation about prayer, is that prayer is a 100% spiritual ministry. We all want our prayers to be “effective,” so much so that when we focus on the “results” of our prayers, we lose sight of the incredible privilege we have in prayer.

The closest the Bible comes to giving a “pattern” for prayer is the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:5-13 (ESV)5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  9 Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,hallowed be your name.10 Your kingdom come,your will be done,on earth as it is in heaven.11 Give us this day our daily bread,12 and forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors.13 And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from evil.
Please understand that the Lord’s Prayer is not a prayer we are to memorize and recite to God. The Lord’s Prayer should be understood as an example, a pattern, of how to pray. It gives us the “ingredients” that should go into prayer.
Here is how it breaks down:
“Our Father in heaven” is teaching us whom to address our prayers to—the Father. “Hallowed be your name” is telling us to worship God, and to praise Him for who He is.
The phrase “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is a reminder to us that we are to pray for God’s plan in our lives and the world, not our own plan. We are to pray for God’s will to be done, not for our desires. We are encouraged to ask God for the things we need in “give us today our daily bread.” “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” reminds us to confess our sins to God and to turn from them, and also to forgive others as God has forgiven us.
The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” is a plea for help in achieving victory over sin and a request for protection from the attacks of the devil.

This is an example of the things that should go into a prayer—worship, trust in God, requests, confession, and submission. We are to pray for the things the Lord’s Prayer talks about, using our own words and “customizing” it to our own journey with God. The proper way to pray is to express our hearts to God. Sitting, standing, or kneeling; hands open or closed; eyes opened or closed; in a church, at home, or outside; in the morning or at night—these are all side issues, subject to personal preference, conviction, and appropriateness. God’s desire is for prayer to be a real and personal connection between Himself and us.

Philippians 4:6-7(ESV) 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. This tells us to pray without being anxious, to pray about everything, and to pray with thankful hearts. God will answer all such prayers with the gift of His peace in our hearts. The proper way to pray is to pour out our hearts to God, being honest and open with God, as He already knows us better than we know ourselves. We are to present our requests to God, keeping in mind that God knows what is best and will not grant a request that is not His will for us. We are to express our love, gratitude, and worship to God in prayer without worrying about having just the right words to say. God is more interested in the content of our hearts than the eloquence of our words

Prayer must submit to the will of God. – Paul Bunyan

As Christ has taught us, prayer must say, Matthew 6:10(ESV)Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.; therefore the people of the Lord in humility are to lay themselves and their prayers, and all that they have, at the feet of their God, to be disposed of by him as he in his heavenly wisdom sees best. And never doubting that God will answer the desire of his people in a way that will be most advantageous for them and for his glory. Therefore when the saints pray with submission to the will of God, they are not to doubt or question God’s love and kindness to them. But because they are not always wise, and sometimes Satan may take advantage of them, so as to tempt them to pray for that which, if they had it, would neither be to God’s glory nor for his people’s good.

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Armor of God Pt3

The Armor of God

 We are finishing the third installment of the Armor of God


1. Belt of Truth

  1. Breastplate of Righteousness
  2. Shoes of Peace

    4.Shield of Faith

  3. Helmet of Salvation
  4. Sword of the Spirit
    Verse 17 interprets itself as to the meaning of the sword of the Spirit—it is the Word of God. While all the other pieces of spiritual armor are defensive in nature, the sword of the Spirit is the only offensive weapon in the armor of God. It speaks of the holiness and power of the Word of God. A greater spiritual weapon is not conceivable. In Jesus’ temptations in the desert, the Word of God was always His overpowering response to Satan. What a blessing that the same Word is available to us!

The sword was the most common weapon in battle. Indeed, the word “sword” appears 449 times in Scripture. The other armaments in God’s arsenal are defensive in nature, but the sword is primarily an offensive weapon. When Jesus said, I came not to bring peace, but a sword He was not saying that He, the Prince of peace, had come to start wars (Matthew 10:34-39(NLT)34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.36Your enemies will be right in your own household!’ 37 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine.38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

Rather, He was pointing out that the sword of God’s Word has a dividing effect. This sword is depicted as having two edges: (Hebrews 4:12(NLT)For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.) Since every Christian is in the spiritual battle with the satanic and evil forces of this world, we need to know how to handle the Word properly. Only then will it be an effective defense against evil, but it will be an offensive weapon we use to “destroy strongholds” of error and falsehood
(2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NLT)For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,).

The sword is both an offensive and defensive weapon used by soldiers or warriors. In this case it is a weapon belonging to the Holy Spirit. Swords were used to protect oneself from harm or to attack the enemy to overcome or kill him. In both cases it was necessary for a solider to get rigid training on the proper use of the sword to get maximum protection and offensive strikes. All Christian soldiers need the same rigid training to know how to properly handle the Sword of the Spirit “which is the word of God.”

Ancient soldiers also used their swords for cooking, splitting kindling, and for cutting the ropes that bound their captives to set them free. Likewise, the Word of God is a practical tool for every area of life, as well as in fighting the devil. In Bible times, there was no stainless steel. A sword unused became rusty, dull, and pitted. Swords were kept clean by frequent use or by honing them against a stone (the Rock of Ages) or another soldier’s sword. (Proverbs 27:17(NLT) As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.)

Likewise, when we study the Bible with others, our skill in the Word is sharpened. A soldier traveling in enemy territory never left his sword out of reach. We should never leave our sword(the Word of God) out of our reach. The purpose of the Word of the Spirit—the Bible—is to make us strong and able to withstand the evil onslaughts of Satan our enemy. The Holy Spirit uses the power of the Word to save souls and then to give them spiritual strength to be mature soldiers for the Lord in fighting this corrupt and evil world we live in. The more we know and understand the word of God, the more useful we will be in doing the Will of God and the more effective we will be in standing against the enemy of our souls.

 

7.Pray in the Spirit
In verse 18, we are told to pray in the Spirit (that is, with the mind of Christ, with His heart and His priorities) in addition to wearing the full armor of God. We cannot neglect prayer, as it is the means by which we draw spiritual strength from God. Without prayer, without reliance upon God, our efforts at spiritual warfare are empty and futile. The full armor of God—truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer—are the tools God has given us, through which we can be spiritually victorious, overcoming Satan’s attacks and temptations.

Praying in the Spirit is mentioned three times in Scripture.

1 Corinthians 14:15 (HCSB)What then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with my understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with my understanding. 16 Otherwise, if you praise with the spirit, how will the uninformed person say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may very well be giving thanks, but the other person is not being built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in other languages more than all of you; 19 yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, in order to teach others also, than 10,000 words in another language.

Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

Jude 20 (HCSB) “But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.”
So, what exactly does it mean to pray in the Spirit?

The Greek word translated “pray in” (proseuchomai) can have several different meanings. It can mean “by means of,” “with the help of,” “in the sphere of,” and “in connection to.” Praying in the Spirit does not refer to the words we are saying. Rather, it refers to how we are praying. Praying in the Spirit is praying according to the Spirit’s leading. It is praying for things the Spirit leads us to pray for. Romans 8:26 tells us, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

To pray in the flesh (the old nature) is to fail. To pray in the Spirit is to succeed. The early church accomplished what it did because it advanced on its knees, mighty in power because they were mighty in prayer. Sometimes we don’t want to pray because our flesh doesn’t like it.
Romans 8:5 (HCSB)For those who live according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.

 

Do you wonder sometimes why you don’t want to pray?  Look in verse 7 and see how this works out in your own life:

We might as well admit it: when we don’t pray, it’s because we don’t want to pray. Why is it we don’t want to pray?  Because the flesh doesn’t like it. When we don’t want to pray, what does that tell us?  That we’re carnally minded rather than spiritually minded. The carnal mind has no more desire to pray than your dog has to watch opera.

There’s something in us, in our flesh (our old nature), that not only doesn’t want to pray, it has a deep-seated feeling of dislike toward prayer.  We need to stop trying to cover it up and admit that the reason we don’t pray when we don’t pray is we don’t want to pray.  And the reason we don’t want to pray is we’re in the flesh rather than the Spirit. The Holy Spirit will activate your will in prayer. The Holy Spirit will help you to pray.

For the Spirit-filled person it becomes so natural to say, “Abba Father,” to worship and praise Him. When the Holy Spirit is in you and you’re yielded to the Spirit, not walking in the flesh, it is as normal as breathing to pray. This is the answer to the problem of a lack of appetite for prayer. The Holy Spirit activates our will in prayer.

 

Some, based on 1 Corinthians 14:15, equate praying in the Spirit with praying in tongues. Discussing the gift of tongues, Paul mentions “pray with my spirit.”

1 Corinthians 14:14(HCSB) For if I pray in another language, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. states that when a person prays in tongues, he does not know what he is saying, since it is spoken in a language he does not know. Further, no one else can understand what is being said, unless there is an interpreter

(1 Corinthians 14:27 (HCSB)If any person speaks in another language, there should be only two, or at the most three, each in turn, and someone must interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, that person should keep silent in the church and speak to himself and to God.).

In Ephesians 6:18, Paul instructs us to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” How are we to pray with all kinds of prayers and requests and pray for the saints, if no one, including the person praying, understands what is being said? Therefore, praying in the Spirit should be understood as praying in the power of the Spirit, by the leading of the Spirit, and according to His will, not as praying in tongues.

  • Prayer is not making God a heavenly bellhop to wait on you and give you your fleshly desires. Prayer is God’s plan to make you like Jesus.
  • The devil doesn’t want you to pray. The devil will do all that he can do to keep you from praying. All of the artillery of Hell is leveled against you when you pray. Why? Because if you pray, you can beat him every time.
  • If you pray in the flesh, you’re no match for Satan. But when you pray in the Spirit, “if God be for you, who can be against you?”
  • You have a Father to pray to. You have a Savior to pray through. You have a Spirit to pray in. Let’s be about our Father’s business, praying in the Spirit.

The Armor of God Pt2

The Armor of God

 Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 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, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6:12 clearly indicates that the conflict with Satan is spiritual, and therefore no tangible weapons can be effectively employed against him and his minions. We are not given a list of specific tactics Satan will use. However, the passage is quite clear that when we follow all the instructions faithfully, we will be able to stand, and we will have victory regardless of Satan’s strategy.

1. Belt of Truth
2.Breastplate of Righteousness
3.Shoes of Peace

4.Shield of Faith

  1. The shield of faith spoken of in verse 16 makes Satan’s sowing of doubt about the faithfulness of God and His Word ineffective. The Roman shield of the time was called a scutum. This type of shield was as large as a door and would cover the warrior entirely. Such a shield was not just defensive but could also be used to push opponents. When fighting as a group, a phalanx of soldiers could position their shields so as to form an enclosure around themselves, called a testudo (“tortoise”). This was especially helpful to protect against arrows launched from the walls of cities they were attacking. Shields, often made of wood and then covered in hide, when wet, could extinguish flaming arrows. The shield was not held loosely in the soldier’s hand, but was firmly strapped to his forearm so he could resist the mighty blows of an enemy’s sword without fear of dropping it. Likewise, Christians cannot afford to have a flimsy faith while in the heat of spiritual battle.

Clearly, a shield is vitally important to a soldier. It provides a blanket of protection. It is meant to be taken up in all circumstances. It is the first barrier against the enemy’s attack. Often, shields were painted with identifying marks; a Christian who takes up the shield of faith identifies himself as a foot soldier who serves the Commander of the Lord’s army.

Our faith—of which Christ is “the founder and perfecter” (Hebrews 12:2 (HCSB)keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.)— is like a golden shield, precious, solid, and substantial.

Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

Verse 6 stresses the importance of faith: Hebrews 11:6 (NLT)And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

Satan’s attacks can sometimes cause us to doubt God. Faith prompts us to believe God. We give in to temptation when we believe what it has to offer is better than what God has promised. Faith reminds us that, though fulfillment of God’s promise may not be readily visible to us, God is true to His Word. When Satan attempts to plague us with doubt or entice us with instant gratification, faith recognizes the deceptiveness of his tactics and quickly extinguishes the arrows. When Satan accuses us, faith chooses to believe that Jesus has redeemed us and that there is no more condemnation.

Faith is one of the greatest gifts (1 Corinthians 13:13), and it is the means by which we receive grace and come into right relationship with God (Ephesians 2:8–9). It is because we have been justified through faith (The word justified means “pronounced or treated as righteous.” For a Christian, justification is the act of God not only forgiving the believer’s sins but imputing to him the righteousness of Christ. Justification is a completed work of God, and it is instantaneous, as opposed to sanctification, which is an ongoing process of growth by which we become more Christlike (the act of “being saved”)

Spirit – Justification – Immediate
Soul – Sanctification – Lifetime of the believer
Body – Glorification – Upon Death
1 Corinthians 1:18 (HCSB) 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved.;
1 Thessalonians 5:23 (HCSB) 23 
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Understanding the doctrine of justification is important for a Christian. First, it is the very knowledge of justification and of grace that motivates good works and spiritual growth; thus, justification leads to sanctification. Also, the fact that justification is a finished work of God means that Christians have assurance of their salvation. In God’s eyes, believers have the righteousness necessary to gain eternal life.

Once a person is justified, there is nothing else he needs in order to gain entrance into heaven. Since justification comes by faith in Christ, based on His work on our behalf, our own works are disqualified as a means of salvation (Romans 3:23-28 (HCSB) For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. 26 God presented Him to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus.27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By one of works? No, on the contrary, by a law of faith. 28 For we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.). There exist vast religious systems with complex theologies that teach the false doctrine of justification by works. But they are teaching “a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all” (Galatians 1:6–7 (HCSB)6 I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from Him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to change the good news about the Messiah.)

We belong to God and have peace with Him (Romans 5:1). Faith is the doorway to hope in God (Romans 5:2). Because we have faith in God, our suffering need not faze us; in fact, we can persevere under it (Romans 5:3–5). The things Satan attempts to use to discourage us can actually become tools in the hands of God.

All believers have this promise: 1John 5:4 (NLT)For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. Faith is a protective barrier between us and the schemes of Satan. When we believe God and take Him at His word, we remain grounded in truth, the lies of the enemy lose their power, and we become overcomers. In that way, faith is our shield.

  1. Helmet of Salvation
    The helmet of salvation in verse 17 is protection for the head, keeping viable a critical part of the body. We could say that our way of thinking needs preservation. The head is the seat of the mind, which, when it has laid hold of the sure gospel hope of eternal life, will not receive false doctrine or give way to Satan’s temptations. The unsaved person has no hope of warding off the blows of false doctrine because he is without the helmet of salvation and his mind is incapable of discerning between spiritual truth and spiritual deception.
    The assurance of salvation is our impenetrable defense against anything the enemy throws at us. Salvation is not limited to a one-time act of the past or even a future hope. God’s salvation is an ongoing, eternal state that His children enjoy in the present. It is daily protection and deliverance from our sin nature and Satan’s schemes.

Because of the power of the cross, our enemy no longer has any hold on us (Romans 8:2(ESV)For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

1 Corinthians 1:18(NLT) The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.

He knows that, but he also knows that most of God’s children do not know that—or, at least, they do not live as if they know. We must learn to keep our helmets buckled so that his fiery missiles do not lodge in our thoughts and set us on fire. Through this helmet of salvation, we can (2 Corinthians 10:5 (NLT) We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.)

 There are several actions a believer can take to keep this helmet fastened and functioning:

1.Renew our minds. Metanoia meaning “changing one’s mind or Repentance” Our minds are battlefields. The outcomes of those battles determine the course of our lives. Romans 12:2 (HCSB) 2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

This instructs us to renew our minds by allowing the truth of God’s Word to wipe out anything contrary to it. Old ideas, opinions, and worldviews must be replaced. We must allow God’s truth to continually wash away the world’s filth, lies, and confusion from our minds and adopt God’s perspective.

2.Reject doubts that arise from circumstances. Human beings are sensory creatures. What we cannot fathom with our five senses, we tend to disregard. If we allow them to, circumstances may convince us that God does not really love us or that His Word is not true. It is impossible to have faith and doubt at the same time. God rewards our faith. With the helmet of salvation firmly in place, we can choose to believe what appears impossible (1 Peter 1:8–9 (HCSB)8 You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.).

3.Keep an eternal perspective. When life crashes in around us, we must remember to look up. Our salvation is the most precious gift we have received. Keeping our eyes on that can help us weather life’s storms. We can choose to live our lives by the motto “If it doesn’t have eternal significance, it’s not important” (Matthew 6:20 (HCSB) 20 But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

1 Corinthians 3:11–13 (HCSB) 11 For no one can lay any other foundation than what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on that foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13 each one’s work will become obvious, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work..

4.Remember that victory is already accomplished. When we consider ourselves “dead to sin but alive to God” (Romans 6:11 (HCSB) 11 So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.), we eliminate many of the opportunities Satan uses to entrap us. When choosing sin is no longer an option for us because we recognize ourselves to be “new creatures” (2 Corinthians 5:17(HCSB) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come), we effectively cut off many avenues of failure.

5.Find all our hope in Him. Psalm 73:25 “Who do I have in heaven but You? And I desire nothing on earth but You. Our helmet is most effective when we treasure what it represents. The salvation Jesus purchased for us cannot share the place of importance in our hearts with earthly things. When pleasing the Lord is our supreme delight, we eliminate many of Satan’s lures and render his evil suggestions powerless.

As we wear the helmet of salvation every day, our minds become more insulated against the suggestions, desires, and traps the enemy lays for us. We choose to guard our minds from excessive worldly influence and instead think on things that honor Christ (Philippians 4:8 (HCSB) 8 Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.)

In doing so, we wear our salvation as a protective helmet that will “guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 (HCSB) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.)

Effective Prayer

The revelation about prayer, which is of the first magnitude, is that prayer is a 100% spiritual ministry. 4 important truths about prayer

  1. Everything in the natural must be overcome and be brought under Spiritual Authority if you are to succeed with prayer.
  2. Because Prayer is so effective and powerful, Satan fights it and you causing an unrelenting warfare on the spiritual battlefield.
  3. This spiritual context has caused PRAYER to be one of -if not- the most misunderstood and least successful ministries in the Church.
  4. THERE IS NOTHING NATURAL ABOUT PRAYER.

We all want our prayers to be “effective,” so much so that when we focus on the “results” of our prayers, we lose sight of the incredible privilege we have in prayer. That people like us can speak to the Creator of the universe is itself an amazing thing. Even more astounding is the fact that He hears us and acts on our behalf! The first thing we need to understand about effective prayer is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had to suffer and die on the cross to even make it possible for us to approach the throne of grace to worship and pray.
Hebrews 10:19-23 (NLT) 19 And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.

Effective Prayer

Although the Bible offers a great deal of guidance on how we can deepen our communication with the Creator, effective prayer has more to do with the one doing the praying than it does with “how” we are to pray. Indeed, Scripture says in James 5:16 The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective , and in 1 Peter 3:12 & Psalm 34:15 “eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer and, again in Proverbs 15:8 “the prayer of the upright pleases Him”. Prayer saved the righteous Daniel from the lion’s den (Daniel 6:11), and in the wilderness, God’s chosen people benefitted from Moses’ right standing with God (Exodus 16–17). The barren Hannah’s steadfast and humble prayers resulted in the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 1:20), and the apostle Paul’s prayers even caused the earth to shake (Acts 16:25-26). Clearly, the passionate prayers of God’s righteous children can accomplish much (Numbers 11:2).

We need to make sure that our prayers are in line with God’s will. 1 John 5:13-15(ESV) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. Praying in accordance with God’s will is essentially praying in accord with what He would want, and we can see God’s revealed will throughout Scripture. And if we do not know what to pray for, Paul reminds us that as God’s children we can rely on the Holy Spirit to intercede for us, in Romans 8:27 (ESV)And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Without Jesus the only prayer God hears is that of repentance. If you are not saved God is not obligated to listen to any of your prayers.

 

Isaiah 59:1(ESV) Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

 

Psalms 66:17 (ESV)I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue.18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.19 But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.

Fortunately, “1 John 1:9 (ESV)if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness

 

Matthew 21:13 He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”

 

Jesus is pretty serious about prayer and His Father’s house.

Jesus is the gate into the House of Prayer, repentance is the key.

John 10:1(ESV)“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.

 

The Bible tells us that true repentance will result in a change of actions Acts 3:19(ESV) Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,). Acts 26:20 declares, “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” The full biblical definition of repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action.

Repentance and faith can be understood as “two sides of the same coin.” It is impossible to place your faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior without first changing your mind about who He is and what He has done. Whether it is repentance from willful rejection or repentance from ignorance or disinterest, it is a change of mind. Biblical repentance, in relation to salvation, is changing your mind from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ.

Barriers to effective communication with God

  1. Praying with selfish desires and wrong motives. “James 4:3(ESV) When you ask you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures”.
  2. Rejecting God’s call or ignoring His advice (Proverbs 1:24-28 Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,25 because you have ignored all my counseland would have none of my reproof, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, 27 when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me.),
  3. worshipping idols (Jeremiah 11:11-14(ESV)11 Therefore, thus says the Lord, Behold, I am bringing disaster upon them that they cannot escape. Though they cry to me, I will not listen to them. 12 Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they make offerings, but they cannot save them in the time of their trouble. 13 For your gods have become as many as your cities, O Judah, and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to shame, altars to make offerings to Baal.14 “Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.),
  4. turning a deaf ear to the cry of the poor Proverbs 21:13 Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.

 

All these serve as additional obstacles to an effective prayer life.

Effective prayer is a way to strengthen our relationship with our Father in heaven. When we study and obey His Word and seek to please Him, the same God who made the sun stand still upon the prayer of Joshua in Joshua 10:12-13 (ESV)12 At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.

We have access to the throne through Jesus
(Hebrews 4:16(ESV) Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.).

The Case for Tongues and the Holy Spirit

  • Two Essential Truths About the Holy SpiritThere are two truths about the Holy Spirit that we need to have clear from the beginning.
    • The first truth is that the Holy Spirit is a person not an impersonal force.
    • The second truth is that the Holy Spirit is God not a creation of God.
    1. The Holy Spirit Is a Person

    The most important passage to support the first truth is John 14–16. At least three things in these chapters confirm that Jesus thinks of the Holy Spirit as a person not a mere force.

    1) Jesus calls him “another Counselor/Helper” in 14:16, “I will pray the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth” (14:26; John15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

    ; John16:Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.). When Jesus calls him a Helper/Counselor or Comforter, he treats him as a person not a force. And when he calls him “another Counselor,” he means, “He will be a counselor like me.” The Holy Spirit is a counselor like Jesus is—he is a person.

     

    Charismatic and Pentecostal, Full Gospel churches are noted for their preaching emphasis on the “works” of the Holy Ghost. Yet it is obvious that most Spirit-filled Christians are not doing what they were taught or if they were ever taught: Living in the power (“dunamis” Acts 1:8) of the Holy Spirit and the “…greater works…” of Jesus, John 14:12. There is a dire need today for a balanced emphasis on the Person, along with the “works” of the Third Person in the GodHead:

    We have to learn a balanced emphasis on the Holy Spirit:

    a. I Corinthians 12:4-6 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

    1.  The Father operates the powers.
    2.  The Son administrates (ministers) the authority.
    3.  The Holy Spirit manifests the power.
    4. not everyone gets the gifts.

    The limited “emphasis” on the Holy Spirit indicates that Full Gospel churches implement the Baptism in the Holy Ghost and enter into the experience, but do not, as a rule, practice the lifestyle as set forth in the Book of Acts.

    1. If one does not go beyond the “experience” of being baptized in the Holy Ghost, into a relationship with the Holy Ghost, he will soon slide back into nominal Christianity. He will go:
    2. From exuberant joy, to an attitude of nonchalance.
    3. From elated worship experience, to just enduring church services.
    4. From enthusiastic witnessing, to just holding a creed.
    5. The church must move past the dramatic “experience” of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit into a regular, intimate and real relationship with the Person of the Holy Ghost, so we can live with power, New Testament Christianity.
    6. This is NOT the norm in Full Gospel churches today for several reasons:
    7. The Person of the Holy Ghost and how to have a relationship with Him is not properly emphasized.
    8. The reason the Person of the Holy Spirit is not taught, is because of a deficit in our theology and thus in our doctrine.
    9. It is implied by current teaching about the Holy Spirit that He is an “influence,” a “power” or even just an “attitude.” He is looked upon as a Christian “tool.” Little or no emphasis being made of His “Godness” much less His real Person
    10. The reason His Person is not regarded or understood, is because He is not really seen in the Triune GOD, who He IS!
    11. The church today is so limited in the knowledge and understanding of the Trinity, that:
      •  They are ill at ease or embarrassed to refer to the Holy Ghost as “God” in their conversation.
      •  Their praying remains confused. In trying to relate to the God(Head), they little know or understand the place of the Trinity in their prayer life. They feel guilty of Tritheism.
      •  To consider the worship the Holy Ghost as God causes guilt, for they feel they are taking reverence away from the Father and/or the Son.
  • Jesus says in Acts 1:5 and 8 that baptism in the Spirit means, “You shall receive power . . . and you shall be my witnesses.” This is an experience of boldness and confidence and victory over sin. A Christian without power is a Christian who needs a baptism in the Holy Spirit. I am aware that in 1 Corinthians 12:13 Paul says that baptism in the Spirit is an act of God by which we become a part of the body of Christ at conversion, so that in his terminology all genuine converts have been baptized in the Spirit.

  • I was told multiple times “Brother if you don’t learn how to speak in tongues your will never have a powerful prayer life” My answer was always “What Verse?” But I have a couple for them….
  • James 5:15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
  • 1 Peter 3:Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
  • 1Peter 3:10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
  • 1 Peter 4:The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers

Well what about tongues and being baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues?

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The Greek word  for power here is “Dunamis” it is the power for performing miracles, moral power and excellence of soul, power to overcome sin.
Ephesians 5:18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, The scripture here is present tense meaning to continually be filled. Baptism of the spirit is not a one time thing.
There are false teachings out there popular within the charismatic Pentecostal movement saying “the evidence of being baptized in the holy spirit is speaking in tongues.” Or gibberish as I would like to say.

Nowhere then, and this is very important, nowhere does the Bible teach that the gift of tongues is anything other than human languages. If you have a question about that, all you need to do is to go back to Acts 2:4, “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other languages, it’s the word language, they speak with other languages, as the Holy Spirit was giving them utterance.”

Notice that they didn’t have to learn how to do it? Somebody didn’t sit them down in a chair and say, “Empty your mind and start talking in unintelligible syllables.” No, the Spirit gave them utterance and they began to speak and what did they speak? It’s very clear, “The multitude came together,” Acts 2: At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages! Here we are—Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!”

Acts 2:6, “They were bewildered, they were from everywhere, by the way, “They were each hearing them speak in his own language.” It wasn’t doubletalk, it wasn’t gibberish, it wasn’t angel talk, it wasn’t celestial speech, it was just different languages.

It is very clear it was language. The word in Acts 2 is glossa, it means language. They were hearing people speak in their own language. That’s all; it wasn’t some angel talk, some gibberish, some secret ecstatic language, some nonsense talk. Then it says also they were hearing in their own dialektos, dialects, that also we find used in Acts chapter 2. So there were unbelievers present at Pentecost hearing God’s message in their own languages and their own local dialects, not ecstatic gibberish.