The Holy Spirit Helps You Pray
Some students baptized with the Holy Spirit have written:
“There was a newness in prayer, a newness that for many of us marked the beginning of a deeper faith life. . . . Many were drawn to long periods of prayer, marked by the predominance of the praise of God.”
“Prayer became a real joy—the sense of the presence and love of God was so strong that I can remember sitting for a half hour just laughing out of joy over the love of God.”
“My times spent in prayer were the happiest times. I was realizing the joy of prayer. Praise of God was something I had never done before. I always prayed when I wanted something or in thanksgiving, or because I knew it was the thing every good Christian should do in order to become closer to God and to better his life as a Christian. Now it was joyful to pray to God in praise of himself. I experienced an extreme closeness and joyfulness while I prayed.” (Ranaghan, pp. 40,41,64, 80,81).
The Holy Spirit Teaches You to PrayIn this lesson you will study . . .
- The Holy Spirit Helps You to Worship God The Holy Spirit Helps You Confess
- The Holy Spirit Shows You What to Ask The Holy Spirit Prays Through You
This lesson will help you . . .
- Discover important truths about prayer as the Holy Spirit teaches
- Worship God in a new and deeper way as the Holy Spirit inspires
- State what happens when you allow the Holy Spirit to pray through
THE HOLY SPIRIT TEACHES YOU TO PRAY
Objective 1. Name three things that are part of prayer.
What is prayer in your daily life—a duty or a conversation that you enjoy with God? Does God seem near you when you pray? Are your prayers answered? Do you want to work with God in prayer and see wonderful results? You have a Friend who specializes in teaching people how to pray—the Holy Spirit.
You have studied how the Spirit makes God real to you. As He shows you how much God loves you, you love God more and want to spend more time with Him in prayer. You know that God cares about you and so you have confidence to ask God for what you need.
The Spirit gives you faith to ask and the assurance that God has heard and will answer. He uses God’s Word to teach you to pray. The Bible tells you what to pray for, how to pray, and what to expect. The Spirit makes God’s promises real to you and helps you claim them.
Prayer is talking with God. It may be spoken words or just in your thoughts quietly turned toward God. It should be a two-way conversation—you should listen to God as well as talk to Him. And when you speak to God you should do three things:
- Confess your faults.
- Ask for what you
Think of your prayers as wheels that help you go forward in your Christian life and service for God. A wheel would not go very far with one section left out, would it? The Holy Spirit wants to help you in every part of your prayers.
THIS HOLY SPIRIT HELPS YOU WORSHIP GOD
Objective 2. Learn steps that can help you make worship a part of your daily life.
What part does worship have in your prayers? In worship you express your love for God. If there is no love, there is no true worship, nothing but an empty form. The Holy Spirit takes you into God’s presence and helps you respond to His love. Sometimes the words of a hymn express best the love you feel, so you sing to God. Sometimes you praise Him in words and sometimes in silent appreciation of His goodness.
Ephesians 2:18. All of us . . . are able to come in the one Spirit into the presence of the Father.
Philippians 3:3. For we worship God by means of his Spirit. . . . We do not put any trust in external ceremonies.
John 4:24. God is Spirit, and only by the power of his Spirit can people worship him as he really is.
The great preacher Charles Finney wrote this:
As I went in and shut the door after me, it seemed as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face. . . . He said nothing, but looked at me in such a manner as to break me right down at His feet. I wept aloud like a child, and made such confessions as I could with my choked utterance. . . . As I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. . . . No words can express the wonderful love that was shed abroad in my heart. I wept with joy and love.
Do you want to make worship a part of your daily life? You can do it by cooperating with the Holy Spirit in these five ways:
- Read a Psalm every The Psalms will help you appreciate God more.
- Notice the prayers in the Bible. They are a pattern for
- When you pray, worship God first before asking Him for your
Psalm 100:4. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him.
- Sing songs of worship and Sing to God at home or in church. Think of the words and mean them. The Holy Spirit may even give you a new song of worship to God.
Ephesians 5:18-20. Be filled with the Spirit. . . . sing hymns and psalms to the Lord with praise in your hearts . . . always give thanks for everything to God the Father.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to help Many of those who have been filled with the Holy Spirit tell of the new joy and freedom that they find in worship. The Holy Spirit wants to help you too.
THE HOLY SPIRIT HELPS YOU CONFESS
Objective 3. Explain how the Holy Spirit helps you remove hindrances to your prayers.
Have you ever felt that you were praying against a wall and couldn’t get through to God? The Holy Spirit wants to help you get rid of anything that hinders your prayers. Think of how a boy acts when he is disobeying his father. Is he glad to see his father? Does he run to meet him or stay out of his way? If he needs his father’s help, his guilt is a barrier. He needs to confess what he has done, ask his father to forgive him, and stop disobeying. When he does this, he is reassured of his father’s love and has confidence to ask for help.
The same thing happens between God and us. However, we are often blind to our own faults. So the Holy Spirit helps us by showing us our faults. He shows us how terrible sin is and helps us confess our sins to God. If we have wronged others, He tells us to ask their forgiveness too and helps us do all we can to make things right. This has been a part of revivals ever since Bible days.
Jonathan Goforth gives many examples in When the Spirit’s Fire Swept Korea. For months the Presbyterian and Methodist missionaries had been meeting daily to pray for revival. A great revival came which went on for years and produced strong, spiritual churches. It began in one of the outstations of Ping Yang.
While conducting the service in the usual way many commenced weeping and confessing their sins. Mr. Swallen said he had never met with anything so strange, and he announced a hymn, hoping to check the wave of emotion which was sweeping over the audience. He tried several times, but in vain, and in awe he realized that Another was managing that meeting. (1943, p. 8).
After this, the mother church in Ping Yang expected special blessing during the week of prayer, but it seemed their prayers were not answered. On the last evening, the 1,500 persons present were startled when the leading man of the church, Elder Keel, stood up and said that God could not bless them because of his sin. At the request of a dying friend, he had agreed to administer his estate. But in doing so he had kept back a large sum of money for himself. After confessing his sin, he said: “I am going to give the money back to that widow tomorrow morning.”
Instantly it was realized that the barriers had fallen, and that God, the Holy One, had come. Conviction of sin swept the audience. The service commenced at 7 o’clock Sunday evening, and did not end until 2 o’clock Monday morning, yet during all that time dozens were standing weeping, awaiting their turn to confess.
It paid well to have spent the several months in prayer, for when God the Holy Spirit came He accomplished more in half a day than all of us missionaries could have accomplished in half a year. In less than 2 months, more than 2 thousand . . . were converted.
By the middle of 1907 there were 30,000 converts connected with the Ping Yang center. It was clear that the revival had not died down by 1910, for in October of that year 4,000 were baptized in one week. (Goforth, pp. 9,12).
What happened at Ping Yang has happened time and again all around the world in many different churches, during the 20th century. As Christians let the Holy Spirit search their souls He reveals the hindrances to revival. When Christians confess their sins and make things right with God and themselves, God can use them for His glory. Revival comes. Prayers are answered. Souls are saved.
2 Chronicles 7:14. If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
1 John 1:8,9. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there is no truth in us. But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all wrongdoing.
Psalm 19:12,14. No one can see his own errors; deliver me, Lord, from hidden faults! May my words and my thoughts be acceptable to you, O Lord, my refuge and my redeemer!
Psalm 139:23,24. Examine me, O God, and know my mind: test me, and discover my thoughts. Find out if there is any evil in me, and guide me in the everlasting way.
THE HOLY SPIRIT SHOWS YOU WHAT TO ASK
Objective 4. Describe how the Holy Spirit can help you pray for the right things.
The Holy Spirit encourages you to ask your heavenly Father for what you need. He reminds you to pray for others and their needs. And He gives you faith to believe God will give you what you ask.
Romans 8:15. For the Spirit that God has given you does not make you slaves and cause you to be afraid; instead, the Spirit makes you God’s children, and by the Spirit’s power we cry out to God, “Father! my Father!”
Philippians 4:6. Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart.
But sometimes you don’t even know what you need. You might ask for the wrong things. So the Holy Spirit, your helpful Friend, is right there to put in your mind what to ask in prayer both for yourself and for others.
God has chosen to work through your prayers. Where there is a need, He tells His children to pray. Then He does what is necessary in answer to their prayers. This is how He saves souls, sends revival, heals the sick, solves problems, and supplies needs.
God gives you the responsibility of praying for your family, your friends, your church, your country, and your world. How you pray affects God’s work all around the world.
The Holy Spirit may impress you to pray for a certain man without letting you know what his need is. Maybe the person is deathly sick, or in great danger, or facing a terrible temptation, or in urgent need of supernatural power to do God’s work. Your prayers will help troubled man.
A Christian on the western coast of the United States said to his pastor, “I had a wonderful experience today. God spoke to me and told me to pray for someone by the name of Alva Walker in Africa. I prayed until I felt the assurance that God had answered.” Half a world away a missionary named Alva Walker had been dying with black water fever. While his unknown brother in Christ prayed, he fell asleep and woke up on his way to recovery. His life was saved because someone obeyed the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 6:18. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God’s people.
THE HOLY SPIRIT PRAYS THROUGH YOU
The Holy Spirit will pray through you in your own language with an intensity beyond your natural way of praying. It may be for a need you have already felt. Or it may be for a need that the Holy Spirit makes you conscious of as He directs your mind and feelings. The prayer pours out the depths of your soul with great urgency. The Holy Spirit pleads with God for your needs or for the needs of others.
As you pray you may feel a burden as if the desperate need were your own. The Holy Spirit may pray through you in weeping over a need you sense but do not understand.
Hebrews 5:7. Jesus made his prayers and requests with loud cries and tears to God.
Romans 8:26,27. The Spirit also comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray . . . the Spirit pleads with God on behalf of his people and in accordance with his will.
The Holy Spirit prays through you for details of problems that you don’t need to know about. He takes authority over the satanic powers that would hinder your prayers. He claims the victory and praises God for the answer. And He expresses in the language of heaven the love that you don’t know how to express, the need that burdens your soul, or the praise that fills your heart.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit may want to pray through you in a language that He and the Father know but you don’t. Paul calls this praying in tongues, or glossolalia. In some places it is translated “to speak in strange sounds” because any language that we don’t understand is strange sounding to us.
Paul taught the Corinthian church that letting the Holy Spirit pray through them in tongues was important, but that it did not take away their responsibility of praying with their understanding too. Both kinds of prayer are necessary.
1 Corinthians 14:2, 14,15. The one who speaks in strange tongues does not speak to others but to God, because no one understands him. He is speaking secret truths by the power of the Spirit. For if I pray in this way, my spirit prays indeed, but my mind has no part in it. What should I do, then? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray also with my mind.
James 5:16. Pray for one another.
God offers you the exciting adventure of working with Him. Let the Holy Spirit lead you, teach you to pray, and pray through you. You will see many wonderful answers to prayer as you accept this ministry.