“What is Praying by or in the Spirit?”
In the lesson five of the first session of the Hudson Valley School of Prayer we talked about how loving the Holy Spirit changes our prayer life. The question we tried to answer was “What is Praying by or in the Spirit?”
David and I began living by the phrase “Breathing by grace” about eight years ago. We tried to live thanking God for the grace—and gifts—He gave us and believing that whatever He gave us was enough for living. We applied that to our spiritual lives, but we didn’t stop there. We looked at all other areas—physical, emotional, and material—and we thanked God for the things He blessed us with and accepted that He had given us all we needed for that moment of time.
The phrase “Breathing by grace” took on a new meaning about five years ago when I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, a terminal lung disease. The doctors gave me two years to live before they said my lungs would deteriorate to the point where they would no longer keep me alive. That was five years ago, so every breath I take is absolutely a gift of grace from my loving heavenly Father.
An analogy of the Holy Spirit and prayer…
As we talked about prayer in relationship to the Spirit of God, David observed all the machines we have at our home that keep me breathing during the night. He commented that prayer is the machine that moves the Spirit of God and gives Him the opportunity to work in our lives. That comment made me make a think of the ways prayer is like those machines.
What machines do I have and what do they do?
The noisy machine is the large oxygen concentrator that sits just outside our bedroom door. It goes all day long, taking the air from the house in, pulling out the hydrogen, and releasing the concentrated oxygen through the tube that goes into my nose. To put it simply, It pulls in all the air and takes away what I don’t need.
Next to our bed we have an air purifier. This machine pulls air in and puts it through a HEPPA filter that takes out the impurities that could make me ill or cause an allergic reaction. It cleans the air.
On my face I wear a CPAP mask that is connected to a machine that forces pressure into my airways so they stay open, allowing me to breathe more easily during the night. The cord from my Oxygen Concentrator attaches to it so the pressure contains the oxygen I need to live.
In the window on David’s side of the bed we have an air conditioner. Along with cooling the room and keeping it at an even temperature conducive to sleep, it reduces the humidity that can make it hard for me to breathe.
How are these machines like prayer in the Holy Spirit?
Now the question of the day is: How are these machines like prayer in the Holy Spirit?
This process reminds me of Hebrews 12:1-3:
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
These verses say there are witnesses cheering us on so I should get rid of encumbrances and endure with patience, focusing on Jesus, and taking into account all He has done for me. How do these ideas match my machines?
- The air purifier is like getting rid of encumbrances. The machine removes those things that could cause me to get sick, but prayer in the Spirit causes me to remove impurities from my life, whether it is wrong thoughts, listening to the wrong voices, falling into habits that could weaken me, failing to do things that will strengthen my faith getting rid of distractions or things that keep me from seeing Jesus.
- The concentrator is like focusing on Jesus. Just as that machine focuses the oxygen into my nose, prayer in the Holy Spirit brings the spotlight on Jesus, helping me to looking at His life, listen carefully to His words, and trust in His finished work for me.
- The CPAP works like the Spirit does in maintaining my communication with God. He exerts pressure on my life, guiding me, teaching me, speaking God’s word to my heart. This keeps the channels open so spiritual breathing—prayer and communication—can happen.
- The air conditioner changes the atmosphere off our bedroom. It makes it a comfortable place to be. The Spirit does the same thing when He brings me into fellowship with other believers, guides me away from distractions that could get me off track, or teaching me through the Word of God.
Breathing by Grace is all of this…
Breathing by Grace is all of this, focusing on Jesus and Breathing in the attitudes of Jesus and breathing out praises and thanksgivings to Him.
This is all the work of the Holy Spirit. As I look to Jesus, the Spirit shines His light on Him and reveals more and more about His love and work for me, teaching me about His love and work. The Spirit reveals to me the things that block my relationship with Jesus and urges me to maintain my communication with God. He draws me into fellowship with other believers, helping them to give me encouragement and the benefits of what God has taught them. He changes my desires to be in-line with Jesus’ will for me.
As I open myself up to God in prayer, the Spirit reminds me of what I need to say, and when I am at a loss of what to say, He even prays for me, interpreting my groanings to God by telling the Father what is really deep on my heart.
Our house is noisy all the time as all these machines do their job to keep me alive. Instead of hearing the sound, I think from now on I’ll see Jesus pouring out His grace on me, letting me breathe in His love and breathe out my praise to Him.
If you missed the teaching video, and before going to the Practical Application Assignments, we ask that you watch “Praying in the Spirit” at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jtqBBPJTDU
Practical Application Activities
Our key question for this session is What is “praying in the Holy Spirit?” (with, or led by the Spirit?) After working on an activity in relation to this question, please let us know when you have completed an activity, and what you found meaningful in the exercise.
David and Julia Ewert | firstname.lastname@example.org
When inspired to do so, compose a prayer to share with the school that we can publish online with the blog. It can be in any form you choose (prose, poetry, music, picture, psalm, etc.).
Identify an analogy from your own life that pictures what prayer in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit is like.
- Remember that the major biblical symbols for the Holy Spirit are fire, wind, oil, hovering dove, and breath.
- Examine your own life and look for things that can become an analogy that reminds you of the almighty presence of the Lord in your life and prayers.
Get Acquainted Activity:
Get to know the Holy Spirit who indwells you and helps you to pray.
We have listed many Scriptures in the study guide for this lesson and those below so that you could take time to read through them slowly and carefully to discover more about who the Holy Spirit is in your life.
The Holy Spirit loves…
- Creating / producing / fruit (Genesis 1:1-3; 2:7; Job 32:7-8; 33:4; Romans 8:5-17; Galatians 5:1-5, 16-26)
- Revealing (spotlighting) Jesus Christ (John 15:2-27; cf. John 14:6)
- Helping / abiding with and in (Psalm 139:7-10; John 14:16-17; 1 John 3:23-24)
- Truth / convicting / teaching / speaking / calling (John 14:16-17, 26; 16:5-15; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 3:7-9; James 4:1-5; 1 John 4:1-6; Revelation 2:11,29; 3:22; 22:17)
- Transforming / sanctification (setting apart to God) (2 Corinthians 3:1-11, 17-18; John 3:4-8, 34-36; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8)
- Sealing / guaranteeing / anointing / knowing (Jeremiah 31:31-34; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 5:4-7; Romans 8:16; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 1 John 2:20,27)
- Gifting (grace) / joy expressed / love poured out / music / gratitude / mutual submission (Romans 5:5; 15:13; Ephesians 5:17-21; Zechariah 4:6-7)
- Baptising / fellowship / Body-life (Acts 4:31; 1 Corinthians 12:1-13; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 13:14)
- Truthing in love / forgiveness (Ephesians 4:1-7, 25-32)
- Praying / working all things together for good (“Abba Father”) (Romans 8:15-30; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 3:14-20)