Pastor Mike Gerhardt, August 6, 2017, Series on Prayer, Outline 5, Prayer in the Spirit, Romans 8:26-27
Introduction: problems with professional prayers. Some wake up and say Good Morning Lord! Others wake up and say Good Lord, it’s morning. Here’s a morning prayer to maybe replace that: Eternal omnipotent Father of my soul, let my first thought be of thee, my first impulse be to worship thee, my first speech be to praise thee, my first action be to kneel and pray for thy perfect wisdom and goodness, for the love wherewith thou lovest mankind, for the great and mysterious opportunity called life, for the indwelling of thy Spirit. Yet let me not when this prayer is said, think my worship ended and spend the day in forgetfulness of thee. Rather for this quiet moment, let thy light go forth and remain with me to keep me chaste in thought, to keep me temperate and truthful, to keep me faithful and diligent, to keep me humble and generous, to keep me honorable and merciful, to keep me loyal and charitable, to keep me mindful of my eternal destiny, as a child of thine. O God who hast been the refuge of many generations, be mine in every circumstance of need. Amen and Amen. Can you hear yourself praying that prayer extemporaneously? Today we will address prayer in the Spirit. Let me first say that praying in the Spirit is much more than those who think it is only praying in tongues. We will look at how much more it is but first let’s look at what it is not. There are warnings in scripture about approaching God in an impure or insincere manner. It is not with many words: Matthew 6:5 And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
It is not with empty sacrifice: Isaiah 1:11 “The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the Lord.
“I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. Verses 15-17: When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.
It is not with formulas: Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”
Acts 19:13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
Some scriptures encourage us to pray in the Spirit, the main reason being that our battle is a spiritual one.
Ephesians 6:12, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. And verse 18: and pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. 2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. Jude 1:20, But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.
How to pray is important especially when praying for world conflict like in the Middle East. 1 Timothy 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. God’s desire is to bring many to a knowledge of the truth. Worldwide peace is not to be expected this side of heaven, but war isn’t always the solution to negotiate peace.
How is praying in the Spirit different than regular prayer? Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. When we pray in the Spirit, God sometimes moves us to pray for things that are completely out of our natural realm to understand. And the Spirit prays for us. Sometimes we don’t even know how to pray. We need wisdom. James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. We need to pray for peace in our world, to bring our boys back safely, to pray for an end to this horrible conflict. We need to pray in the Spirit for eternal peace in the next. What does it mean to pray in the Spirit? As one writer put it, it means to pray for Cleansing power: any form of sin in your life, the Blood of Jesus will cleanse you. Deliverance power: the Spirit sets people free from bondage. Healing power: the Spirit can heal all forms of infirmity. Life-giving power: to revive you whether it be a marriage, a business, or health. Bondage-breaking power. Overcoming power. Renewing power. Breakthrough power. Mountain-moving power. Demon-paralyzing power. Virtue-restoring power. Burden-removing power.
We have yet to receive because we have yet to ask. If we want to see miracles, we need to pray for miracles. Let pray that right now. There is another worldwide conflict that is taking many soldiers that goes unpublished in our magazines and newspapers. That conflict is between the forces of evil and Christ’s church. Many soldiers of the Cross are being beaten, jailed and killed in many countries that persecute believers. Christians still die for their faith and we need to pray. Let’s pray for the persecuted church. They are magazines in the back to pick up. We have no idea what they are going through. We must pray in the Spirit for them.
Conclusion: Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.