Our great need in this day is not professional pray-ers, but men and women filled with the Spirit of prayer.
As we have just established, our prayer life flows from the heart of Christ our Head. We are one spirit with Him and we are moved with the rivers that flow from His heart. His heart overflows with compassion for the world, and through our willing co-operation, His hunger can be satisfied as we birth souls into His Kingdom through earnest intercession on their behalf.
Jesus said in John 7:38-39 that rivers of living water would flow from our inner man, and this He spake of the Spirit who would be given to each and every believer. Jesus did not just speak of one river – but rivers. These rivers include all the different kinds of prayer. As we learn to flow with the Spirit of prayer He will direct us. We will find ourselves praying different kinds of prayer at different times according to His leading, and not because we have been taught that such and such a prayer is the right one for this particular situation.
Duewel when speaking of the dynamics of prevailing prayer says:
“All prevailing in prayer depends on the full enabling, guidance, and empowering of the Holy Spirit. From one viewpoint, there is only one source and dynamic of prevailing prayer – God the Spirit. Only as He fills us, possesses us, yearns through us, permeates and empowers every aspect of our praying, and discloses to us the priorities for our praying – that is, only as He is Lord of our praying can we prevail…
(The) victory Christ won alone – alone in the garden, alone on the cross. But that eternal victory must now be applied and enforced by the Holy Spirit working through the prayers and obedience of God’s children.”
Selfless love is the source and motivation for all truly inspired prayer.
“No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.” (John 15:13 AMP)
“We choose to love all people, even the unlovable. We love as God loves. It involves (the) giving of our lives for the benefit of mankind. This does not merely refer to dying physically. It mainly refers to our being willing to give up our own will and way and take time to pray and intercede for all men.”
Wilford Reidt, quoted in ‘The Art of Prayer’ by Kenneth E Hagin
Moved by such compassion, not our own, we will pray effectively and fervently, with a bursting heart, not mere cold unbelieving formalistic prayers. In respect to Christ’s present ministry, this is what it is to enter into the sufferings and victories of Christ.
Form Without Power
Formalistic prayers, even when based on the divinely inspired words of God, minister nothing but death. Words alone are not enough, they must be baptised with the fire of God’s Spirit.
Lynne Hammond says in ‘The Master is Calling’:
“Please understand, I am a Word person. I love the Word of God. But if you try to apply that Word without fellowshipping with the Person and Spirit of God Himself, your life and your prayers will be dry and powerless. That’s because it is the Holy Spirit who quickens the Word to you. It’s God Himself – the Person and power behind the Word – Who makes it come alive in your life.”
She continues later in the same book:
“We’ve had enough superficial performances of prayer. We’ve had enough spiritless, weak praying. Now we need prayers that avail with God so powerfully they can change the course of nature; prayer that changes people and nations; prayer that projects God in full force to the world.”
James 5:16 says:
“… The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” (James 5:16 AMP)
When the Spirit of Prayer is mixed with God’s Word and Promise the impossible becomes possible and dynamic miracle power is released:
“For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]….” (Hebrews 4:12 AMP)
“He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power… (Hebrews 1:3 AMP)
Our prayers are energised by God’s Word living and abiding in a heart filled and moved by the Holy Ghost. They are propelled full force by the fire of His Word residing in the believer’s spirit. Paul Himself prayed for the church that they would realise this mighty power, and recognise the mightiness of the One dwelling and moving within them (Ephesians 1:17-20; 3:16-21).
What is important is that our prayers are not mere spiritual sounding monologues or choruses; they must be imbued with holy fervency arising from communion with the Holy Ghost.
Lynne Hammond rightly says:
“As soon as you make something a form, you rob it of its effectiveness…our prayers to Him are a matter of relationship and not ritual, you can easily see why He doesn’t respond to forms. Real prayer is genuine communication. Religious form, however, is a type of manipulation!”
This does not negate the application of principle in prayer. Mere hot air and emotion do not constitute effective prayer, and without skill in the art of prayer we can expend much energy to no avail, but all forms of prayer must be subject to the leading and dynamic of the Spirit of prayer Himself.
Charles Finney, the renowned revivalist, states these facts even stronger in his book about the principles of revival:
“I have dwelt the more on this subject, because I want to have it made so plain that you will be careful not to grieve the Spirit. I want you to have high ideas of the Holy Ghost, and to feel that nothing good will be done without His influences. No praying or preaching will be of any avail without Him. If Jesus Christ were to come down here and preach to sinners, not one would be converted without the Spirit. Be careful, then, not to grieve Him away, by slighting or neglecting His heavenly influences when He invites you to pray.
We see from this subject the absurdity of using set forms of prayer, or prayer books. The very idea of using a form rejects, of course, the leadings of the Spirit. Nothing is more calculated to destroy the spirit of prayer, and entirely to darken and confuse the mind, as to what constitutes prayer, than to use forms. Forms of prayer are not only absurd in themselves, but they are the very device of the devil to destroy the spirit and break the power of prayer. It is of no use to say the form is a good one. Prayer does not consist in words. And it matters not what the words are if the heart is not led by the Spirit of God. If the desire is not enkindled, the thoughts directed, and the whole current of feeling produced and led by the Spirit of God, it is not prayer. And set forms are, of all things, best calculated to keep an individual from praying, as he ought.”
Yielding to the Spirit in prayer
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Rom 8:14 AMPLIFIED)
As we have considered in earlier modules [Mod 2: Doctrine: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit], the Holy Spirit is a Person; the third Person of the Godhead. He is not a feeling or an impersonal influence or power. He is very God!
As we develop faith through the knowledge of this truth and the Scriptures concerning His present ministry in and to the saints we realise that we have absolute ground to expect clear leading in all things from Him.
Just as we looked at Christ, our Advocate, so we discover that Christ’s ministry of intercession continues in the Person of the Holy Spirit:
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” (1John 2:1 KJV)
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John 16:7 KJV)
Strongs #3875. parakletos, par-ak´-lay-tos;
an intercessor, consoler: — advocate, comforter.
Thayers #3875. parakleœtos, parakleœtou, ho (parakaleoœ), properly, summoned, called to one’s side, especially called to one’s aid
1. one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant; an advocate
2. universally, one who pleads another’s cause with one, an intercessor:
3. in the widest sense, a helper, succorer, aider, assistant; so of the Holy Spirit destined to take the place of Christ with the apostles
(after His ascension to the Father)
Through Him we enter into this glorious participation. He, the Holy Ghost, leads us as we pour our hearts before the Father. Our intercessions through Him combine with the intercessions of Christ, heaven’s breathing and earth’s groanings effectually affecting the plans of God. The same Spirit at work in Christ moves us in One holy purpose!
The Bible makes it clear that the Holy Spirit has been sent to lead and guide us: Consider the following Scriptures in this respect: John 14:26; 16:13-15; 1 John 2:27
As our faith is developed for the Holy Spirit to lead us out in prayer, and we begin to practice in prayer, our hearts grow accustomed to yielding to the different expressions and flows He directs toward. We develop capacity in our spirit, not only to engage Him in our requests and the matters that concern us, but also to work with Him regarding the concerns of His heart.
The Holy Spirit will show us and cause us to pray for things to come; He will take the things of Jesus, those present truths and concerns of the Saviour’s intercessions, and show them to us, leading us to pray into them together with Christ; He will teach us to abide in Christ and to pray from that position of victory and authority; He will lead us to explore new realms in the spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). The Bible says that He will pray the perfect will and mind of God together with us, taking hold together with us in spiritual yearnings and groanings too deep for human utterance:
“So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance. And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will.” (Romans 8:26-27 AMPLIFIED)
What a partnership! What a privilege!