Praying In The Holy Ghost – Pastor Stacey Shiflett

Praying In the Holy Ghost

Jude 20

Intro: There is a lot about prayer that I do not know. I don’t pretend to be an authority on the subject. I am fascinated with prayer for a number of reasons. The mysteries of prayer will never be unlocked on this side of eternity. We know enough to get started. We know enough to be properly motivated to establish a prayer life. We know enough to stir us up and ignite within us a desire and a longing to be able to pray.

These three facts alone should be enough to spur us and challenge us to pray.

               1. Prayer is a POSSIBILITY

  • Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

What an amazing concept; to be transported through space into the very throne room of God!

Prayer is not only possible, but God has given us 2/3 of the Godhead to help us pray.

  1. Jesus Christ ever liveth to make intercession for us. – Heb. 7:25
  2. The Holy Ghost helps us pray – Romans 8:26

There is no reason why we as Christians cannot get our prayers answered!

               2. Prayer is a PRIORITY

  • 1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

“First of all” means first of all. Jesus set the example by rising up a great while before day and praying.

               3. Prayer is a PIPELINE

  • Mark 9:29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

Prayer and fasting is a conduit, a channel, a pipeline through which supernatural power is accessed.

I was asked the question last Sunday about 2 minutes before church, “Pastor, what does it mean to pray in the Holy Ghost?” I have not been able to get that question off my mind.

There are so many facets to prayer that we could preach on this morning:

  • The OPPORTUNITIES to pray.
  • The OBLIGATIONs to pray.
  • The OBJECTIVES to prayer.
  • The OBSTACLES to prayer.
  • The OPPOSITIONS to prayer.

What I want to examine is:

  • The OPTIMIZATION to prayer.

We need to pray in the Holy Ghost to maximize our prayer potential.

We need to pray prayers that GET HEARD and GET ANSWERED.

               QUOTE: A.W. TOZIER: The prayer that gets to Heaven is the prayer that begins in Heaven.

We need to pray prayers that reach the ears of God and the heart of God.

We need to pray prayers that move the heart of God to move the hand of God.

We need to pray prayers that produce supernatural results.

To do that, we need to understand what it means to PRAY IN THE HOLY GHOST.

The Bible commands us to WALK IN THE SPIRIT. (Galatians 5:16, 25)

John the Beloved was described as being “IN THE SPIRIT on the Lord’s Day” in Revelation 1:10.

The Revelation we find recorded in Scripture was the result of a conversation John had while IN THE SPIRIT.

Do you think for one minute that God would have revealed REVELATION to him in a carnal state; a fleshly state??

What I want to understand is what it means to PRAY IN THE HOLY GHOST.

I may finish preaching this and you may say, “Pastor, that is not at all what it means to pray in the Holy Ghost.”

I won’t even argue with you. Because you may be right.

It might mean something different for each of us.

It might be much simpler than I think it is.

It might be more complicated than I think it is.

One thing I know – PRAYING IN THE HOLY GHOST is possible, and if so, it sounds important.

Praying in the HOLY GHOST has supernatural benefits.

We can embark on this journey with a quick checklist of things we can eliminate.

Let’s look at what we know praying in the Holy Ghost is NOT:

               A. It is not praying in tongues.

Nowhere in the Bible do you find this practice taught.

There is no such thing as praying in a “heavenly language.”

Satan originated in Heaven, so praying in a “heavenly language” would be pointless.

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He told them what to say.

He didn’t tell them to pray in tongues.

The tongues of men and of angels in I Corinthians 13:1 has nothing to do with praying in tongues.

               B. It is NOT having a perfect understanding of what you are praying for

  • Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

               C. It is not telling God something He doesn’t already know

  • Matthew 6:8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

What does it mean to PRAY IN THE HOLY GHOST?

To be honest with you, I don’t think it is possible to fully understand all the ramifications of this statement.

We can’t with our limited comprehension and fragmented understanding of the ministry of the Holy Spirit know it all.

The distance between our finite minds and the mind of God is incomprehensible.

  • Isaiah 55:8, 9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

In order to please God in many areas of the Christian life, the truth is, we need help.

The Holy Ghost was given to us to be a Comforter.

Comforter – GREEK: parakletos – Bro. Sammy Allen’s favorite definition (to run when called for)

  • summoned, called to one’s side, esp. called to one’s aid
  • one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate
  • one who pleads another’s cause with one, an intercessor of Christ in his exaltation at God’s right hand, pleading with God the Father for the pardon of our sins
  • in the widest sense, a helper, succourer, aider, assistant

ILLUSTRATION: He helps us when we are tempted. (succour)

  • Hebrews 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

I do know this – whether you admit it or not, I need help praying.

We have limitations. We have weaknesses. The Bible calls them “infirmities.”

We have physical infirmities, but I think it goes much deeper than that.

We have mental infirmities. We have limited comprehension and understanding.

LOOK AT Romans 8:26 refers to our “infirmities”, and then expounds by saying “we know not.”

Romans 8

  • 26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
  • 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

The Bible is clear – we don’t even know WHAT we should pray for.

We don’t have the mental capacity and understanding to pray the way we OUGHT to pray.

We get tunnel-visioned in our praying. We many times lose perspective.

               ILLUSTRATION: If I saw you broke down on the side of the road and pulled over, I might ask, “Do you need any help?” You may say, “Yes, I need you to fix my car.” That would be accurate, but not very specific. It would make more sense to say, “Yes, I need you to help me change my flat tire because I can’t get these lug nuts off.” Now we’re getting somewhere. (no pun intended)

               You may say, “Pastor, I know I need God to help me be able to make my house payment this month.” Do you really believe that is your biggest need? Is that your biggest problem? Could it be possible that your lustful mind and your wandering eyes might be a bigger concern to God than your car insurance lapsing or you missing a payment on your credit card?

               You may say, “I need to pray for my family to be saved.” Maybe. Maybe not. You might need to pray and ask God to help you be a better, bolder witness and to not be a hypocrite. You might need to pray to be a brighter light and saltier salt. Truth is, you and I really don’t know what we are supposed to pray for.

Here is how I processed that question this week.

PRAYING IN THE HOLY GHOST means the Holy Ghost is an active participant in my praying.

PRAYING IN THE HOLY GHOST means that God has dispatched His Spirit to assist me in my praying.

It has become a team effort.

The Holy Spirit is not a passive bystander; the Holy Spirit is involved in the prayer process.

For that to happen, there must be several key elements that come into play.

In my mind, to understand PRAYING IN THE HOLY GHOST, there has to be a checklist of requirements.

There has to be some VITAL PREREQUISITES that are met for the Holy Ghost to undergird my praying.

Let’s work this problem and see if we can understand what it means to pray in the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost will assist those that pray:

I. Hungry Prayers

  • Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

One of the characteristics of the church of Laodicea was they “had need of nothing.”

The Lord’s response to that attitude of self-reliance and self-sufficiency was nausea.

I can’t think of anything more repulsive to the Lord than a prayer life without an expressed need for God.

A hunger, a thirst, a desire, a longing, a heart that cries out and begs for God’s presence and help.

God is not interested in routine, monotonous, mundane, distracted, half-hearted prayers.

God is drawn to us when we are in need; searching; hungry; thirsty; desiring Him and wanting Him.

The Holy Ghost will assist those that pray:

II. Holy Prayers

Prayer is a spiritual conversation.

Prayer is communion between a child of God and the Father.

Prayer is dialogue between a born-again believer and the Savior.

This dialogue – this conversation is impossible to have in the presence of sin and iniquity.

A heart full of unconfessed sin will result in prayers not being answered.

  • Psalms 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

The heathen pray, but to no avail.

  • Proverbs 15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.

If God hears the prayer of the righteous, then we need to deal with the unrighteousness.

This means that the first thing we need to do is clear the line of communication with the Father.

  • 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

As Bro. Ingram preached last week in the Men’s Conference, confession is siding with God against yourself.

Saying the same thing about your sin that God says about it.

To recruit the assistance of the Holy Ghost in our praying, we cannot do that while at the same time grieving Him and quenching Him with our unconfessed sin.

If we are going to see God – if we are going to approach His throne, we must do it with holiness.

  • Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

Carnal lusts and fleshly prayers will never be heard.

  • James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume [it] upon your lusts.

The Holy Ghost will assist those that pray:

III. Humble Prayers

The Bible tells us that we can boldly approach the throne of grace to find mercy and grace to help in time of need.

But the secret to obtaining grace is humility.

  • James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
  • Proverbs 3:34 Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.

It stands to reason that you and I cannot PRAY IN THE HOLY GHOST with pride or haughtiness.

We must come before God in humility.

The Holy Ghost will assist those that pray:

IV. Hopeful Prayers

Praying without faith is pointless.

James 1

  • 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
  • 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

God hears the prayer of faith.

  • Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
  • Matthew 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
  • James 5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up;

The closest thing to a prayer that was prayed without faith that Jesus answered was the dad in Mark 9.

A man with a son possessed of devils asked Jesus to help him.

Jesus responded with the linchpin for answered prayer.

  • 23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
  • 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

Jesus saw enough faith that He helped him out with the unbelief.

Conclusion: I believe with all my heart that when our praying fits these criteria, we will discover that the Holy Ghost will come alongside us and help us pray.

We will find that our prayers have left this mortal plain and ascended to heavenly places.

We will realize that we are communicating with the Creator of the universe in the manner in which we were created to communicate with Him – on His terms; by His standards; in His power.

PRAYING IN THE HOLY GHOST will produce several things in the life of the person praying.

               A. A Constructive Assistance

  • Jude 1:20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

               B. A Confident Assurance

I John 5

  • 14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
  • 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

Praying in the Holy Ghost will happen when we pray according to the will of God.

  • Romans 8:27the Spirit maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.