I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet...Revelation 1:10
“I was in the Spirit.” Have you taken notice of those five words much, or have you just sped over them? I’ve been thinking about them in the last week or so. I’ve been thinking about prayer, and pondering how much I really just scratch the surface of what God has for me and for the rest of us. In Ephesians 6:18, at the end of the armor of God, Paul writes: “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication…”
I haven’t heard maybe any sermons on what praying in the Spirit means. But I’ve read some things about it from guys from the 1700’s, and one guy from the early 1900’s. Could it be that all of our television, Internet and video games have wrecked our depth to have that be a part of the normal Christian experience?
JD Greear writes about it in his book Jesus Continued. So it isn’t all just guys that are dead that talk about praying in the Spirit. He writes, “Our greatest power in prayer occurs when our prayers are prompted by the Word of God and the Spirit of God. Prayers that start in Heaven are heard by Heaven. (pg. 153)”
For me, the ‘in the Spirit’ promptings come one of two ways. The first is through dreams. It doesn’t happen as much as it used to, but when it does, God gets my attention. I’ll give an example. I had a dream that a friend from church was covered in road rash. She came and the ladies from church took her into this prayer cabin and totally covered her in prayer and she came out without any rash at all. She was just fine. I woke up, laid there and prayed for her for quite awhile, not knowing exactly what was going on. Whatever it was, I knew it had to be rough.
The next day she was supposed to be at work and she wasn’t there. Someone mentioned she was at her husband’s court with him. He was a doctor and was getting sued for some bogus malpractice suit. It hit me that was what the dream was about, so I began praying fervently again for both of them. At the end of the week we had a women’s gathering at our church and she described how those two days were the worst days of her life. I would describe the prompting that God gave me through the dream as ‘praying in the Spirit,’ as there was no other way that I would have known how to pray. He gave me a picture of what she was going through with the road rash.
The other way that God has worked for me is to give me burdens that will not go away until I have prayed them away. When Scott O’Grady from the USA was shot down and behind enemy lines in Bosnia for eight days back in 1995, I couldn’t stop praying for him. I must have prayed for him at least 8-10 times a day. This was before 24 hour news, so I just kept praying! When the news came that he was rescued, I cried. When I read his book, Return With Honor, he tells of how he laid still for hours at a time because captors were feet away from him. At one point God gave him a vision of a “choir” of thousands of people from all around the world praying for him. I was in that choir!
Jeremiah 33:3 says, Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
Samuel Chadwick (1860-1932) said, “Prayer in the Spirit is the energized prayer of the righteous man that is of great force. There is passion in the praying that prevails. God never keeps hot hearts waiting. ‘When you search for Me with all your heart I will be found by you.’ Jeremiah 29:13-14 Prayer that is energized by the Spirit brings power, turn ordinary mortals into people of power. It brings fire. It brings life. It brings God.”
I will take my stand at my watch post and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what He will say to me. Habakkuk 2:1
And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” 1 Samuel 3:10