‘Praying In the Holy Ghost’
Arthur Shearman, Worcester, England
Prayer is the one activity we express most concern about, and yet at the same time treat most casually. How often we have been confronted with a need and we have said most earnestly, "We will make it a matter of prayer". Almost as soon as we have said this, the matter has receded into the back of our minds. Intentionally? Perhaps not, but all too often this happens.
Prayer is a serious business. It was G. H. Lang who said, "Praying is working". It is not merely praying for workers for God. It is, in effect, working with them. It is not just praying for sick or needy saints. It is deeply sharing their need with them. Can we sufficiently measure the outworking of blessing that could come if we really prayed as we should?
Prayer and the Holy Spirit are much linked together in the New Testament Scriptures. It is good to notice one or two points in this connection. Romans 8. 26 speaks of the intercession of the Spirit on behalf of the infirmities of the saints. Ignorance of true need, and inability to express the deeper measures of need, call for help outside of the realm of human power. Where we flounder and fail, how good to know that we have a Comforter, one alongside to help. How much we owe, fellow-believer, to the unseen ministry of the Holy Spirit of God, in our praying, we shall never know. Let us move in the good of it.
Again in Philippians 1. 19 we find prayer and the Spirit linked together. This time it is in relation to the filling out of an apostle's need. The prayer of the Philippian believers was vital to the apostle in his prison experience. Something of pathos lies in these words. "Your supplication" - he counts on the fact that they will make supplication at the throne of grace for his needs. And alongside their prayers is the sufficiency of the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, What measures of power are here! In our fellowship with those who serve God, it is well that we consider the implication of these words.
"Praying in the Holy Ghost", Jude 20. In this exhortation, prayer and the Spirit are associated with each other. The implication here is that the atmosphere of prayer is conditioned by the presence of the Holy Spirit. So much of self can creep into our prayer life. So much of Satan also has to be reckoned with in the unseen warfare we wage with the powers of darkness. Prayer challenges the authority and power of the devil. Yet does all the time and energy spent in praying avail, if the atmosphere of the Spirit's presence and power is lacking?
As we consider again these things, how necessary that we "continue stedfastly in prayer, watching therein with thanksgiving", Col. 4. 2. Waiting time is not wasted time. Prosperity in God's work develops as prayer in and through the Spirit of God is a priority with His people.