What Does it Mean to “Pray in the Spirit?”

How Do We Pray in the Spirit?

“Praying in the Spirit” is mentioned two times in the New Testament: Ephesians 6:18 and Jude 20. To pray in the Spirit means to pray according to the Spirit’s promptings and guidance. When we allow our prayers to be led
by the Holy Spirit we pray in accordance with God’s will. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of prayer. Jesus promised the presence of the Spirit in the life of his disciples (John 14:16–17). One of the crucial tasks of the Holy Spirit is to inspire and guide our prayers. When our weaknesses prevent us from relating to God correctly, the Spirit intercedes for us—that is, he pleads our case before God:

“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 through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

Romans 8:26–27

We can rest assured that the Spirit is praying alongside us, making our prayers what they ought to be.

Dialogue, Not Monologue

If we understand prayer as communication with God, then we will be able to see it more fully as a dialogue, rather than a monologue on our part. Prayer is a two-way conversation; the other half of our worship before God is God’s guidance and clarity of his will to us. Just as we may only reach God
in the Spirit through the truth of Christ (John 4:24), so also God’s guidance and teaching comes to us only through Christ by means of the Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:12–14).

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