Faithlife Sermons

Learning to Pray in the Spirit

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Text:  Romans 8:26-27


            Have you ever been so confused about a matter that you didn’t know how to pray?  Or have you wanted to know the heart of God on a matter so that when you pray you could be assured you were praying with His blessing?   Sometimes we don’t know how we ought to pray. 

            The Holy Spirit has an advantage over us in this:  He already know the will of God.  Since He is resident in the Christian, we would see more fruit in our prayers if we learn to pray in concert with the Holy Spirit.  That’s called praying in the Spirit.  When you learn to pray this way you will see more fruitful answers. 

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            You see, the Holy Spirit helps us to know the will of God He already knows.  So when we pray with Him, we are praying in agreement with the will of God.

            Let me illustrate this way.  Let’s say you want to buy your child a bike for Christmas.  You look all around and find just the right bike, buy it, and hide it in the garage.  Then you have the task of convincing your child they want a bike for Christmas.  The bike is already in the garage, but you have to get them to ask for it.

            Look at the similarities of when we pray:  The Holy Spirit knows what God has waiting is store for us.   It’s already there.  The Holy Spirit’s task is to get us to want it - to get us to ask for it.  Do you know what will happen when you ask for things God already wants to give or do?  You will always receive it.  Why?  Because you have asked according to the will of God! 

            Therefore it’s important that we know when the Holy Spirit is speaking.  Jesus said we would know when He speaks:  "To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.”  (Jn. 4:3-4)

            Are you interested in knowing more about how to pray in God’s will?


A.    To hear the Holy Spirit’s voice, we must decide that we only want God’s will.  We must get rid of any selfish desires of our own. 

1.     To do that we need to empty our heart of any self-will before we even begin to pray.

2.     This is where most people go wrong; most people enter prayer with a list of things they want God to do or bless.  Nine-tenths of our difficulties would be overcome if hearts are empty of self, and open to the H.S’s direction as to how to pray.  Phil. 2:5-7

B.    When your only desire is to know God’s will, not push yours on Him, then you are open to pray at the direction of the H.S.

C.    Next, begin listening.  What is He saying to me as I pray?


A.  God’s will on most matters is revealed in the Bible.  So search the Word in connection with your prayer request.  Ps. 119:105, 18, 104, 10, 112

B.  So, write down what God is saying to you through the Word.

B.  God will never lead you in opposition to His Word.  If what you praying is in opposition to the Scriptures, it’s wrong!

C.    And don’t play games by just looking for Scripture that seems to say what you selfishly want to do, and then claim as God’s will.  That’s dangerous!  Don’t do it!


A.    Watch how God shapes events around you to show you where He is working.  God will often confirm what He is doing by opening doors. 

B.    Look at what we can learn about open doors from these passages:  Col. 4:2-3;  Acts 14:27-28; 
1 Cor. 16:7-9;  Rev. 3:8

C.    Let me caution you about one thing.  Some people have the philosophy that they proceed in a direction and if God doesn’t want them to go in that direction, He will close the door.  Folks, that’s nothing more than self-will with a stubborn attitude!   And that’s the very thing we try to eliminate at the very beginning of praying in the spirit.


A.    Have you ever prayed for one thing and got another?  Some people would say you need to keep praying until you get what you the right answer.  Folks, however God answers the prayer IS the right answer!

B.    Praying in the spirit isn’t about telling God to revise the answer until we are pleased with it!  It’s about praying in tandem with God’s will!                        That’s different from praying with perseverance until the answer comes.             In the first, the prayer has already come…in the second, you are waiting for the answer. What we’re talking about here is giving God freedom to change our prayer.

C.    Do you remember the story of the four men who brought their crippled friend to Jesus to be healed?  Because of the crowd, they opened a hole in the roof and let him down in front of Jesus.  Jesus said, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”  (Mk. 2:5)

1.     The friends were asking Jesus to heal the man., but Jesus gave him more…He forgave his sins!

2.     They asked for a particular gift…but Jesus wanted to make him a child of God so he could inherit everything!

D.    Oh God, if we ever give You a request and You have more to give us than we are asking, cancel our request!  * Eph. 3:20-21

E.     Beloved, you can’t even think of a prayer that comes close to what God wants to give you!  So, when praying, allow God the freedom to change your request.

F.     Only the Holy Spirit knows what God wants to do in your life.  Let God give you all He wants to give. 
1 Cor. 2:10-12

G.    Let’s see now this was applied in the Apostle Paul’s life.  2 Cor. 2:12-14


            Beloved, when you learn to pray in the spirit, He will always lead you into triumph!  And that way you will always be spreading the sweet aroma of Christ by being in the center of God’s will…right in the middle of the work of God when He opens a wide door!

            Let me come back to a point I made at the beginning.  Our biggest problem in praying in the spirit is moving out of the way so that God can do all that He wants to do in us and through us.  I don’t know about you, but for me that takes DEATH!          I get in the way all too often.              Frequently I want MY way, instead of GOD’S will!   And the only way to let God do what He wants to do is to die to self!

            Only when we sacrifice all our plans on the altar, will we be open enough to let God do whatever He wants in our life!                   And why not?!!  When His will is EXCEEDINGLY, ABUNDANTLY BEYOND what we even DARE TO ASK…who are we to come with a simple request of healing when He wants to make us a CHILD OF THE KING and INHERIT EVERYTHING??!!!!

            Are you willing to die right now and let God take over your life?  You know in your heart that that is what He wants.  So why not pray in concert with His will, and make that decision right now?


Prayer:  “God, we purpose right now to die to self.  We are done with our selfish will.  We want to do Your will, because You have something better for us than what we could ever DREAM for ourselves!  Help the person right now who is struggling with letting go, and letting You direct their life.  Help them to find that peace that passes all understanding when they yield the control to You.  And Lord, if we ever climb off the altar and start doing our own will again, draw us back to the altar! Now Lord, take these people who are empty of self, and fill them with Your Holy Spirit and use them in the glorious work of the Kingdom of God!  Establish our work for ever and ever.  Amen.”

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