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Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Graceful Tongues: Praying Powerful Prayers in the Spirit
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready and never give up. Always pray for all God’s people. Ephesians 6:18 NCV In the recent weeks, we've been engaged in a study of the precious Holy Spirit. We have seen the true meaning of spiritual hunger. We've seen the importance of His active ministry in our heart and lives. We've extensively studied the Baptism in the Spirit and the accompanying prayer language available to all believers activated by Grace through faith. I sense strongly to continue studying the Spirit and His Gifts of Grace to the Church, Christ's Body. Some of the tradition-minded have sought to "bring me down from the wall" to engage in debate or to justify the time and attention given to this subject. I simply rest in Him and His truth and follow His leading. He thought expedient and of much importance to bestow upon His Church these gifts and manifestations. Any complaints should be directed to Father God, His Son the head of the Church, and the Spirit of God who manifests these Gifts to encourage and inspire and energize the Church. Today, I sense the leading to reveal some more aspects of this Grace gift of praying in the Spirit. We can pray powerful prayers that change events and turn things around for good and the glory of God. First, though, we need to remove the common excesses associated with praying in the Spirit that unfortunately at times arise. Well-meaning and sincere believers can fall into excess or even error when it comes to flowing with God's Spirit. The Spirit isn't leading anyone to error, it is simply human intellect and emotions that lead us astray in this area. Let's examine these excesses so we can ensure they aren't operating in our lives. 1. Warring tongues or Warfare tongues. This is the mistaken idea that when we pray in the Spirit we are engaging in some kind of hand to hand combat with satan or some demon. The problem is the Scriptures don't support this erroneous practice. Paul declared that when we pray in tongues we are speaking to God. If we are speaking to God, we aren't speaking to demons or any other entity. 2. Shouting or screaming in tongues. This is similar to the warring tongues excess. God isn't hard of hearing. We aren't exercising more authority or power by the volume of our praying. 3. Exercising foolishness in the presence of the unlearned. This is unprofitable behavior. Being over emotional and interrupting service or others praying brings confusion. People running around a building randomly placing their hands on people and screaming in tongues isn't God moving, it is emotions on display. If people are unlearned in the Charismata or Gifts of the Spirit it is best to pray quietly to oneself if the need arises to pray in the Spirit. 4. Drawing unnecessary attention to oneself. This goes hand in hand with number 3. Being disruptive, seeking the "spotlight", looking to prove your superior spirituality isn't edifying. The attention should always be on Jesus not on us. Now that we have addressed the excesses let's examine the genuine. We've already seen the many benefits of praying in the Spirit. Now I want to share how Spirit-directed prayer allows us to flow with God and exercise His will in circumstances for His glory and for the best. We can cooperate with God in our prayer life. Paul declared in Romans 8 that we don't always know what to pray but the Spirit helps us. Intercessory prayer, that is interceding on behalf of others, is one of the primary roles of Spirit-directed prayer in the Spirit. I have heard countless testimonies of believers who's lives were spared or rescued because someone was suddenly urged by the Spirit to pray. We don't always know what we are praying for in the Spirit. Sometimes we are praying for favor, deliverance, provision or healing for God's people somewhere on this planet. I will share a wonderful testimony of God's love and goodness in this arena. Many, many years ago, I was serving in the military. I was out to sea and they were conducting flight operations. Often times some fellow believers and I would gather and spend what time we could in prayer and fellowship. This day a brother of mine in Christ and me were spending some time praying in other tongues. Straightaway an urgent sense to pray and intercede for healing overshadowed me. I relayed this to my friend and he sensed this in his spirit as well. We began to quickly pray in tongues. We had no idea who we were praying for or who needed healing. We just followed God's leading. Suddenly, it came across the ship's intercom that a helicopter carrying three people had crashed and fallen into the ocean. A helicopter crash out at sea is no small matter. Thanks be to God, though, we had already prayed and interceded in the Spirit and they conducted an immediate recovery operation. All three people were discovered safe and unharmed. This is why I stand so strongly for this beautiful Grace gift God has bestowed upon His church. Lives are spared and God's goodness can be clearly seen. I want to share another operation of prayer in the Spirit. I have already shared that there is no such thing as warring tongues or battling satan in tongues. Why is this? Well, the enemy has been totally defeated by the Finished Work of Christ. The only spiritual warfare we engage in is the enforcement of the enemy's defeat. God has given us the armor of God to accomplish this. If you look at the armor of God, we only see one apparent offensive weapon. Why is this? Well because we aren't warring to defeat the enemy. Jesus sufficiently accomplished this in the Finished Work. One thing I never noticed for years is the number of pieces of the armor. We have noted only 6 pieces of armor. The problem with this view is number one, it is not true in the actual context and secondly, 6 is the number of "man". This is why "spiritual warfare" seems so tiring and effort based. Tradition has us using our efforts and abilities in enforcing the enemy's defeat. In reality, there are actually 7 pieces of the armor of God. Seven is the number of God. It is His power and ability and authority we exercise in prayer and enforce the enemy's defeat. What is the 7th piece? 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— Ephesians 6:18 NKJV Yes, praying in the Spirit, praying in tongues is the 7th piece of the armor of God. When we enforce satan's defeat we are exercising our authority in Christ and receiving divine deliverance and protection and provision. I have another testimony of this. I am not going to share some spectacular miracle, just something so simple to reveal just how loving and concerned Jesus is with our everyday life. We receive His protection and provision in all areas of our life. Many years ago, I had some vacation time scheduled. One was in the early part of the month of August and another in the latter part of September. I was planning on visiting my folks back home. I had decided and made plans to travel in September. One day while praying in the Spirit the Lord revealed to me that I should travel in August and not September. Now I could have easily argued and tried to debate the Lord. "But, God, I already made plans for September." I didn't do it, though. I trusted Him and His peace confirmed this. I took my vacation and was able to see my grandmother who was in her 80s. I had a good time. Before September came, my grandmother passed. Had I waited until September I wouldn't have been able to see my grandmother one last time. This is how good He is. He protected me from any regret or grief. Prayers in the Spirit can really turn things around for our good. This is why we should embrace this Gift of Grace. We aren't struggling or striving in prayer. Instead, we are entering into the rest and receiving refreshing. In our upcoming posts, we will examine the nine Gifts of the Spirit Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians 12. We will answer questions like is that stuff on TV false or real? You don't want to miss them. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net