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Praying in the Spiritby Duane Mabee on February 17, 2022
We announced last week that we will be talking about praying in the Spirit this Sunday. I suspect that made some a bit nervous. “What are we getting ourselves into?” Many Christians are not quite sure what to do with the Holy Spirit. They believe in Him, but they are scared of the excesses they have heard of in other circles. As a result, they accept the Biblical teaching that every believer has the Holy Spirit, but they live as though that means they got spiritually vaccinated at some point.
Most of us were vaccinated as children. We received the polio, MMR, and other childhood shots. They are “in us” now, but we do not think about them or interact with them. They are just there. Many believers treat the Holy Spirit in the same way, but the Holy Spirit is a living, active being. He is an equal part of the Trinity, and He wants to interact with us as much as God the Father and Christ the Son do.
Wayne Grudem writes that the work of the Holy Spirit is to manifest the active presence of God in the world, and especially in the church. The Holy Spirit is now the primary manifestation of God among us today. In other words, the Holy Spirit is our proof that God is with us and is alive and active.
Grudem speaks of five aspects of the work of the Holy Spirit that give evidence of God’s presence with us. 1. The Holy Spirit empowers believers and the church. 2. He purifies believers and congregations. 3. The Spirit reveals truth, God’s will, and God’s ways. 4. The Holy Spirit unifies. 5. The Holy Spirit gives stronger or weaker evidence of the presence and blessing of God, according to our response to Him. If these things are not evident in a person or a church, it is highly unlikely they have a relationship with God.
I would add one more aspect of the Spirit’s work. It falls under the category of the Holy Spirit empowering, but it is worth singling out to be viewed on its own. The Holy Spirit helps us to pray. Romans 8:26-27 says, 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. 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, (ESV).
The word “helps” gives the picture of the Holy Spirit picking up the other side of our burdens, which are too much for us to carry, and carrying them with us. It is a very active picture. It is a very intimate picture. It is part of what it means to pray in (or with) the Spirit. It is evidence that God is with us. I encourage you to join us as we examine the question, “What does it mean to pray in the Spirit”.