Ministry Resources

When You Pray

When God made us, He put something in us that reaches out for Him. We realize that we need a power greater than our own to solve our problems, protect us, and meet our needs. Through prayer we learn to reach out to God for help.

Let the Holy Spirit Help You When You Pray

“Oh, his poor feet, Lord, his poor feet!” prayed Mrs. Dean. She was shocked at her own prayer. Why? Because she had just read the report that the man she was praying for, Victor Plymire, had been killed while taking the message of Jesus into the interior of Tibet.

How foolish Mrs. Dean felt praying for a dead man’s feet! Yet she knew so strongly that she should. What she didn’t know was that report was wrong. Victor wasn’t dead. He was somewhere on a snow-covered trail, high in the Himalayan mountains, with both feet partially frozen.

Except for a miracle, Victor was likely to die of gangrene infection before he could reach civilization. But the Lord had another plan. Through His Spirit, He told Mrs. Dean, a woman who lived on the other side of the world, to pray for Victor. She obeyed, the miracle happened, and Victor was healed.

In this lesson you will study . . .Other people have had the same kind of experience that Mrs. Dean had. The Holy Spirit has directed their prayers, and wonderful things have happened. The Holy Spirit has many ways of helping us when we pray! As you study the ones this lesson explains, you will learn how to let Him help you.

Listen to the Spirit’s Voice Feel What the Spirit Feels

Let the Spirit Pray Through You Act in the Spirit’s Power

This lesson will help you . . .

  • Let the Holy Spirit show you what to pray for and how to
  • Reach a deeper level in worship and greater victories in prayer as you let the Holy Spirit pray through you.


Objective 1. Identify the work of the Holy Spirit in our prayers.

We have already talked about listening to God when we pray. It is the Holy Spirit who speaks to us in this two-way conversation as we pray and read the Bible. He sometimes shows us things in our lives that do not please God. He helps us confess them to God and ask His forgiveness. And then He gives us peace and the assurance that God has forgiven us. Our lives are changed as we listen to the Holy Spirit and let Him help us day by day.

Romans 8:26-27. In the same way the Spirit also comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit himself pleads with God for us in groans that words cannot express. And God, who sees into our hearts, knows what the thought of the Spirit is; because the Spirit pleads with God on behalf of his people and in accordance with his will.


Romans 8:26-27

Thank God that the Holy Spirit helps us pray! He has come to live in us, give us a new nature, guide us, and help us to worship and serve God. Jesus said:

John 4:24. “God is Spirit, and only by the power of his Spirit can people worship him as he really is.”

As the Spirit leads us, we experience the joy of knowing God as our Father.

Romans 8:14-17. Those who are lead by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. For the Spirit that God has given 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!” God’s Spirit joins himself to our spirits to declare that we are God’s children. Since we are his children, we will possess the blessings he keeps for his people.

The Holy Spirit helps us to understand God’s Word and brings to our mind the truths we need.

John 14:26. “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you.”

Isaiah 11:2. “The spirit of the Lord will give him wisdom.”

The teaching and guidance of the Holy Spirit come most often through the Bible. So meditate on God’s Word as you read. Repeat phrases. Memorize verses and repeat them during the day. Take a promise in the morning and keep it in your mind during the day. Let the Word become a part of you. The Holy Spirit can then bring the right words to your memory and apply them to your circumstances when He wants to guide or encourage you. He will also use the Word to make your faith grow and you will see greater answers to prayer.


Objective 2. Describe how feelings enter into our prayers.

We have talked about concern for those who are lost and about feeling other people’s needs as if they were our own. This comes from the love that God has for them. His Spirit in us loves people and causes us to love them too. The more we let Him have His way in our lives, the more His love will fill us.

Romans 5:5. God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to us.

The strong compassion of the Holy Spirit may sometimes make the tears flow as we pray for people, but at other times the joy of the Holy Spirit will cause us to rejoice and praise God.

Thessalonians 5:16-17. Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all

Thessalonians 1:3. Our brothers, we must thank God at all times for

Philippians 1:3-4. I thank my God for you every time I think of you; and every time I pray for you all, I pray with joy.

Romans 12:15. Be happy with those who are happy, weep with those who weep.


Objective 3. Explain what it means to pray in the Spirit.
We have talked about attitudes in prayer. May the Holy Spirit so enter into every part of us that we will feel what He feels: a deep hatred of sin, a longing to please God in all we do, an urgent desire to help others be free from sin and its results, desire for Jesus to come back to earth and set up His kingdom, love for God and for people, deep sincerity and earnestness in our prayers, joy in communion with the Father, assurance that He will answer, willingness to do whatever He tells us to do.

So many times we don’t know just how to pray. We don’t understand what the needs of a person are or what the solution is. We are not sure of what the will of God is. Or, perhaps we just don’t have words to express the love of God that wells up in us—or the agony that seems to tear us apart, the inner conflicts, the fears, the separation. The Holy Spirit offers to take all these longings and needs of the soul and talk with the Father about them Himself. Sometimes He may do this by pouring out through your lips in your prayer language that comes from Him and not from your own mind. Under His inspiration you are pouring out your soul’s deepest longings or worship to God. At other times, He may prefer to do this in a language of His own—a special prayer language.

1 Corinthians 14:2. 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.

What wonderful release comes to our own spirit through such prayer! We don’t have to understand all about the problem and the solution—the Spirit presents it in His own words and asks for what is best. He prays according to God’s will; this gives us the assurance that the prayer will be answered.

This kind of praying is called “praying in the Spirit” or “speaking in tongues.” People sometimes refer to it as glossalalia from the Greek word for “tongues.” Millions of Christians in the world today let the Holy Spirit pray through them in whatever language He chooses.

This first happened to 120 of Jesus’ followers on the day of Pentecost. They were filled with the Spirit and began to praise God in languages that they had never learned. In the crowd that gathered, people from many countries understood what the Christians were saying in these different languages. They were talking about the wonderful things God had done!

Acts 2:4. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.


Objective 4. Discuss the importance of putting the Spirit’s power into practice in our lives.

The apostle Paul evidently let the Spirit pray through him in tongues a great deal as he interceded for the needs of new Christians, Christian workers, and the churches that he had founded. (He refers to it as “praying with his spirit”.) But this didn’t keep him from praying earnestly in his own words, too. The Spirit helps us pray in both ways.

1 Corinthians 14:14-15. 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; I will sing with my spirit, but I will sing also with my mind.

All through this course we have talked about letting God use us to help answer our prayers. We listen for the Holy Spirit to give instructions, but how can we do what He tells us to do? Through His power!

Philippians 2:13. God is always at work in you to make you willing and able to obey his own purpose.

After we pray in the Spirit and ask for His help to do what He wants us to do, we can go out and do it trusting Him to work through us. We ask Him to save our friends; He tells us to tell them about Jesus. We ask Him to help us do it, and He does. We can speak and act with confidence knowing that God is answering our prayers.

John 5:14-15. We have courage in God’s presence, because we are sure that he hears us if we ask him for anything that is according to his will. He hears us whenever we ask him; and since we know this is true, we know also that he gives us what we ask from

This power of the Spirit is not only for speaking as witnesses for Jesus but also for living for Him, being the kind of person He wants us to be. Our lives speak louder than words about the love and power of God.

Acts 1:8. “But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will he filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me.

Timothy 1:7. For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit

fills us with power, love, and self-control.

Galatians 5:16. Let the Spirit direct your lives.

Now as you finish these studies, the main test is to put into practice what you have learned. Of course, Satan, the Evil One, will try to hinder you. He opposes God’s work and doesn’t want you to pray. But the Holy Spirit will help you! He will give you the victory over Satan and the power to do God’s will. May He bless and use you to win great spiritual victories for yourself and for others when you pray!

Ephesians 6:17-18. Accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. Do all this in prayer, asking for God’s help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads.

Jude 20. But you, my friends, keep on building yourselves up on your most sacred faith. Pray in the power of the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5. The weapons we use in our fight are not the world’s weapons but God’s powerful weapons. . . . We destroy false arguments; we pull down every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ.