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How to Pray: Praying in the Spirit

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Ephesians 6:18 ESV
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,

The Armor of the Lord

What does the armor consist of: Truth, Righteousness, the Gospel, Faith, Salvation, and the Word of God
These are all things that a person can study, and talk about with great intelligence, and still not be saved.

The overlooked essential --- Prayer in the Spirit

Without prayer, the armor is like one of those suits of armor on display, an empty shell, a dead orthodoxy
Prayer is oxygen in the lungs of the Christian
Spirit - ruah in Hebrew, pneuma in Greek
Layout - What it means, and doesn’t mean to pray in the spirit, what hinders our prayers; and how we can be in the spirit in prayer

What Does It Mean to Pray in the Spirit

What it does not mean

Ecstatic, chaotic, frenzied praying - rooted in emotion and outward demonstrations
Any prayer that makes you the center of attention is not spirit-filled prayer.
Not even praying in tongues -
We can discuss the gift of praying and speaking in tongues in the Church today, but that’s not at all what Paul is addressing in this text

What it means to be “In the Spirit”

We use this terminology even today: having the spirit
Having Team/School Spirit - you bleed team colors, being so committed, loyal, and devoted to them
Vikings fans are so devoted, they despise Green Bay so much, they refuse to win the Lombardi
Luke 1:17 John the Baptist - the Spirit of Elijah
How was John in the Spirit of Elijah? Both came as a messenger from the Lord, to call God’s people to repentance and renewal
To be in the Spirit is to have the same characteristic, motivation, personality, to seek the same thing as the Holy Spirit of God.

Praying in the Spirit

The Work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer
To make Christ known - to reveal Jesus, and make him manifest in our lives, to apply the gracious work of Christ to us, to make us more like Him.
John in Revelation 1 - in the Spirit, he saw Christ
Stephen in Acts 7 - filled with the Spirit, he saw Christ
To pray in the Spirit, then, is to pray Christ-Centered, Christ-revealing, Christ-glorifying, Christ-seeking prayer.
To be empowered by, guided by, and taught by the Spirit in prayer
Rom 8 - the Spirit prays for us, teaches us to pray, empowers our prayer
The spirit reveals our need, applies the gospel, raises our prayers, sustains our faith… Apart from the spirit, our prayers are just words that bounce around the room.
To pray in the Spirit is to allow the Holy Spirit to inspire your prayers, to shape your desires in prayer, to give you the words to pray

What Gets in the Way of Praying in the Spirit?

Self
James 4:2-4 - “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you as wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
James rebukes the church because their prayers, and their life together as the church, was conflicted and bitter. There was favoritism, prejudice, hostility, division, and the people were frustrated that God wouldn’t answer their prayers.
Self-centered prayer is not God-directed nor Christ-centered prayer; it is not prayer in the Spirit.
I’ve seen this happen when groups get together to pay: If you are praying to put someone in their place, praying to prove a point, praying to demonstrate your own righteousness or eloquence; you are praying for the wrong reason, you are praying in the spirit of man, and not in the Spirit of God.
Stuff
We are filled with the things of the world
Is your heart full of everything that will cannot satisfy. We crowd our lives with diversions, music piped in so that we cannot hear ourselves think, notifications and alerts on our phones that interrupt, calendars that are filled with chasing kids from one event to the next - our lives are at capacity. But we’ve been filled with empty carbs, good for a burst of energy, but they cannot sustain, and they crowd out that which can.
Matthew 13:22 - Parable of the sower, seed falls among the thorns, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it is unfruitful.
Eph 5:18 - do not get `drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit You cannot pray in the spirit if you are full of the world. Take measure of how much time you spend being filled with the things of the world, and see if there is any room in your life for the Sprit.
Sin
Grieving the Holy Spirit - Ephesians 4:30
How do we grieve the Holy Spirit, in our win, disobedience, defiance, delay -
When the Spirit has poured the love of God into out hearts, has applied to us the redeeming work of Christ, has made clear in the Word and in the inward testimony of goodness, faithfulness, and loving kindness of God, and we willfully chose sin, it grieves the Spirit greatly.
Your relationships with others affect your relationship to God, your ability to commune with God in prayer
Psa 66:18 If we cherish sin in our heart, God will not listen
1 Peter 3:7 - husbands are to live with their wives in understanding and honor them, so that their prayers may not be hindered.

How Can We Pray in the Spirit?

Stop

Repent, and seek the very Spirit of Christ
Preach the Gospel to yourself
Prayer will flow from thanksgiving.
Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Intercession - these are all responses to the Good News of the Gospel
Know that you are given the Holy Spirit
You don’t have to seek some special blessing - you have been given the fullness of God’s Holy Spirit
We may experience the Spirit of God to varying degrees (see above), but God gives His Spirit that we may have life Trust in this promise of the gospel, and lean on the Holy Spirit in prayer

Drop (Everything)

Make time to converse with God
Arrow Prayers are fine in times of need, but you cannot build a relationship that way.
In your home - if all you ever spoke to your kids was in a text, or just walking by with a quick demand/request - where would the relationship be? Husbands and wives? To strengthen your relationship, you must make time
Are you setting aside time in prayer?
Carving out time to stop, breathe, and wait upon the Lord, listening and speaking - in conversation through the Spirit
John Flavel wrote that the Holy Spirit helps us before prayer by working upon the desires and affections; He helps during prayer by providing the right requests, “teaching them what they should ask of God,” as well as by instilling the right manner of prayer, “supplying them with suitable affections, and helping them to be sincere in all their desires to God”; and He helps after prayer, “helping them to faith and patience, to believe and wait for the returns and answers of their prayer.”

Read

Last week’s sermon - pray God’s Word
The Word, which was inspired by God’s Spirit, will inspire you in prayer
Praying in the Spirit, being “filled with the Spirit,” happens when the word of Christ to dwells richly in us (Col 3:16). The way in which we let the Bible “dwell richly” in us is to surrender ourselves to and meditate upon the Word.

Conclusion

If we are to stand as Christians, to stand as a Church, we must take up armor for the battle, but never let us forget to pray in the Spirit.
If you could pray the best prayer in the world without the Holy Spirit, God would have nothing to do with it.
Charles Spurgeon
Know your need for the Spirit to guide and lead you in prayer Turn from that which would keep you from praying in the Spirit - Self, Stuff, Sin Pray - rooted in the gospel, resting in the Spirit, growing in the Word
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