“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”
Ephesians 6:18 NLT
“Well then, what shall I do? I will pray in the Spirit, and I will also pray in words I understand. I will sing in the Spirit, and I will also sing in words I understand.”
1 Corinthians 14:15
We are pilgrims marching along the corridors of life, fully equipped with our armour for defence against the devil’s attacks. And at all times in our journey we are in communication with our loving Father, who watches over us and leads and guides us. But the “in communication” bit is crucial. Carrying on the analogy of the Roman soldier, that has been in our thoughts over the previous few days, we have to be in contact with base, where our Father is. Imagine a modern soldier, who would normally be in radio contact with his fellow soldiers elsewhere, being suddenly unable to connect with them? In the decades after the 2nd World War, occasionally a Japanese soldier appeared on global media, having been discovered still at his post in remote terrain somewhere – he had been unable to make the connection with his base and learn about the change in circumstances. Unfortunately in our churches today there are people who have lost connection with their Base, but continue with their liturgies and customs regardless.
Paul was aware that communication with Father is of paramount importance. And the spiritual radio set God has made available to us is powered, not by batteries, but by the Holy Spirit Himself. And we pilgrims avail ourselves of that power and pray. We pray in the power of the Spirit. By allowing the Holy Spirit into our prayers, we immediately access what our Father in Heaven wants us to pray about. He leads and helps us in our prayers. How many times has a thought popped into my mind about someone or some issue and in the process of praying about it I wonder where the thought came from? It was the Holy Spirit of course, gently leading, gently reminding, gently nudging, helping me to pray in line with God’s will.
“Praying in the Spirit” can also mean praying in tongues. This is more contentious in some Christian circles, but nevertheless, to those who can speak in tongues, this is an important part of their prayer life. The implication of the verse from 1 Corinthians above, is that praying in the Spirit using tongues is not understood, even by the speaker. As a tongue-speaking pilgrim myself, I am aware sometimes of an urgent need to pray, but about what I do not know. Speaking my prayers in the Heavenly language God has supplied me with somehow makes sense, as I experience a lift in my spirit as it connects with God’s Spirit. A mystery perhaps, but somehow important and relevant to many Christians, including me.
Paul finishes the verse with the exhortation to be alert. We need to constantly be on our guards, always aware that the devil is constantly cooking up schemes to separate us from God, not just so we will end up in a blind alley somewhere, but because he will try and frustrate us in our efforts to share the Gospel with the lost world around us. So we pray for our fellow believers. Those in our churches and fellowships. Those in our countries. And especially for those being persecuted in other parts of the world.
So I appeal to all pilgrims reading this today, including myself – we must keep our spiritual batteries fully charged up in the Holy Spirit. A life disconnected from God doesn’t work. We will instead end up in remote terrain somewhere, cut off from the very Life Source we need in these troubled days.