Praying In the Spirit
By Larry d. Wright
Prayer is both a natural and unnatural process. It is natural for a child to cry to their Father but there are times when even a child does not know what to say. Words fail to rise to the surface of our lips and even when they do, they seem inadequate.
In Letters to Malcolm (p.70), C.S Lewis reflects this dilemma as he quotes some anonymous lines:
“I seek in myself the things I hoped to say,
But, lo! My wells are dry.
Then, seeing me empty, you forsake
The listener’s role and through
My dumb lips breathe and into utterance wake
The thoughts I never knew.”
There are times when a prayer in our heart finds great difficulty arriving at our lips. Oh, the pain of dry wells. Good News! You do not need to articulate your needs and desires for God to know them since He knows the status and desires of your heart at every moment. Prayers that are not uttered do not go unnoticed from Him. David declared, “All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you.” (Psalm 38:9)
However, God is so interested that you articulate your prayers that He will help you in your weakness. Paul declared, “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.” (Romans 8:26-27)
Good News! The Holy Spirit, who is God, will help you pray! However, He will not do this without complete cooperation from you. He will not overpower your flesh but work through you when you align your life with Him. Praying in the Spirit happens when your surrender is so complete that He can think His thoughts through you, express His desires through you and He can speak words through you.
Thomas R. Kelly in A Testament of Devotion describes this process with great eloquence:” There comes a time when prayer pours forth in volumes and originality such as we cannot create. It rolls through us like a mighty tide. Our prayers are mingled with a vaster word, a Word that at one time was made flesh. We pray, and yet it is not we who pray, but a Greater who prays in us…All we can say is, Prayer is taking place, and I am given to be in the orbit.” (p.45)
Prayer that takes you to another orbit because it is birthed and borne by the Spirit, that, friend, is Praying in the Spirit!