Praying in the Holy Spirit: A brief


It may be informative for us to start with the mystery of the Triune God; the Godhead.


God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are all separate individual persons and yet they are One (Deut. 6:1).  The Godhead is infinite and eternal.

Jesus in his humanity was not infinite or eternal.  He was a finite man, born of woman (Gal. 4:4).  Nevertheless Jesus incarnate was fully man and fully God (Mt. 1: 20-22).  This mystery is called the hypostatic union.

the-trinityOnly God incarnate was efficacious to pay our debt.

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin . . .”(Rom. 8:3).

Regarding the Holy Spirit:

The primary starting point is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Like indwelling, regenerating and the sealing of the Spirit are unconditional and occur at the moment a person repents of their sins and trusts Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

The filling of the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18) is something we must do frequently.  Why “frequently”?  Because we sin frequently and must ask forgiveness to open up communication with God again.  1 John 1declares:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (v 9).

The unbeliever; the carnal man, lives by his own power.  The spiritual man lives by the power of the Spirit.

Prayer Basics:

  • Prayer is to be sincere.
  • Prayer is to make sense.
    1. Sometimes it is an awareness of the need of mercy, because of the danger of sin.
    2. Sometimes in prayer, there is a sweet sense of mercy received; encouraging, comforting, strengthening, and instructive mercy,
  • Prayer is to be an affectionate pouring out of the soul to God, through Christ.
  • Prayer is to be by the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit.
  • Prayer is to be for things that God has promised.
  • Prayer is to be for the good of the church.
  • And prayer must submit to the will of God.[1]

Praying in the Spirit:

The Bible Knowledge Commentary[2] posits praying in the Spirit is, “praying out of hearts that are indwelt, illuminated, and filled with the Holy Spirit.”pray-in-the-spirit

Also in referencing the Eph. 6:18 passage BKC states “on all occasions Christians are to pray continually in the Spirit (i.e. in the power and sphere of the Spirit).”[3]  This would also include a thoroughness and intensity in their praying.

I ask a pastor friend, Steve Meyer, for his thoughts on praying in the Spirit.  He referred me to a blog he writes, “Reaching Higher with Meyer” where he talks about this.

The following are excerpted pieces that are relevant and instructive from his article “Christianity 101: Praying Powerfully and Effectively.”[4]

It must begin with the fact that Jesus must be Lord over our life, not just our Savior. For your prayer life to be powerful and effective, progressive sanctification must be actively taking place in your life and not stalled due to outstanding sinful behavior.

To be holy means you need to be surrendered to the Holy Spirit, you must live by the Spirit, and you must also know nothing you do in the flesh can ever please God (Rom 8:7-8).

So rightfully prayed prayer should be more than a mechanical and liturgical thing; rather it should be an intimate and exhilarating time spent with the Lord.  How much time do you personally spend on getting quiet and listening to God’s answers to prayer?  Do you even listen at all?

All your time praying should not be monopolized by you speaking to Him, telling Him what the best thing is to do (or maybe not to do).

Again, prayer is clpryrbtlgrdearly not about mechanics.  Rom 8:26 tells us “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 through wordless groans.

The question then is: if we do not even know what we ought to pray for according to God’s Word, then why pray?  In part it is due to our need for the Holy Spirit to be responsible for our prayers.  Our human responsibility is to stay surrendered to the Holy Spirit via obedience and repentance (1 John 2:1).  If we do, we will be praying in the Spirit.  In other words if we walk by the Spirit who intercedes for us, we won’t pray selfishly (Gal 5:16) or with wrong motives (Jas 4:3).

If you abide in Him, and walk by the Spirit, and are in a right fellowship with God (all synonymous), then your prayers will be powerful and effective,

Christ’s followers only ascertain God’s will and wisdom (1 Cor 2:6-16) when they are in a right fellowship with the Lord.

Keeping His commands and doing what pleases Him positively affects the success of our prayers!  It is being in a righteous condition that makes you do godly works and pray effectively, via the Holy Spirit.             END


 [1] John Bunyan 1628-1688, Praying In The Spirit; written in prison in 1662.

[2] Walvoord and Zuck, BKC, 644.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Steve Meyer, “Christianity 101: Praying Powerfully and Effectively, (Reaching Higher with Meyer),

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