“… 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, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
To pray in the Spirit requires that you recognize the internal battle between your old nature and your new nature in Christ. It means to set your mind on the things of the Spirit and not the things of the flesh, and to ask for the Spirit’s power as you respond to the situations of life and work.
To pray in the Spirit means allowing the Holy Spirit to help you pray. If you are reading and meditating on God’s Word and asking the Lord to give you insight; if you are pursuing the things of the Spirit and not the things of the flesh; if you are seeking first the kingdom of God; then the Holy Spirit will help you pray.
Paul says this in Romans: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8.26-28)
I think it is important to point out that people frequently quote Romans 8.28 without quoting the prayer context in which it is written. Paul’s message is that we do not always know how to pray; we do not always know what is happening or why; but we do know who God is, and we trust him. We believe, and so we pray.
In those times, if we put our focus and faith on God, the Spirit intercedes and moves us to pray …even to the point that our prayer is expressed in “groanings too deep for words.”
Do not be reckless in your use of Romans 8.28. Make note of the conditional nature of the statement. All things work together for good “for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” People who do not love God and who are not pursuing his purposes have no claim to the promise of this verse. And “loving God” is not a sentimental feeling; it is the disciplined commitment to obeying his commands.
Thank you Lord for the gift of prayer. We ask you to help us pray at all times in connection with your Spirit. When we drift away from that connection, we ask you to call us back. In the name of Jesus, Amen.