In the abundance of His love God the Father redeemed us from evil through His Son and also blessed us with the indwelling Holy Spirit to empower us to stop our falling back.
Praying in the Spirit – I
Apostle John had experienced first-hand the love of God to say, “God is love’
(1 John 4:8). It is this same love of the Creator God that was expressed by Him
in coming to look for the lost and sinful children not only in the Garden of
Eden but also through the incarnation of His Son. Cleansing the faithful with
His sacrificial blood, He decided to make our bodies His abode through the
indwelling Holy Spirit to strengthen the relationship as well as the individual
believer. His Spirit gets actively involved in our lives to teach, guide and
help us in every aspect of life, including our prayers. This help is invaluable
for the Holy Spirit as God knows exactly the mind of God and what He has stored
up for us.
Role of the Holy Spirit – He is an answer to Lord
Jesus’ prayer to the Father; He is another ‘Comforter’ and He dwells
permanently with the believer. He is called the Spirit of Truth, is unknown to
the ‘world’ and dwells within the believer (John 14:16-17). Outside of
the Fourth Gospel, only place where Lord Jesus is called an Advocate (1 John
2:1) and He represents believers before the Father while the Holy Spirit
represents and reveals the Father to the believers. The basic
function of the Holy Spirit is to make the reality of God explicit and
convincing to all men in the same manner as the Son of God did to the
believers. Lord Jesus as man was restricted by time and space whereas the Holy
Spirit being Omnipresent is active everywhere. Thus the Holy Spirit dwells in
the hearts of believers to provide a fellowship with God even more intimate
than they had with the Savior during His physical presence on earth. He
differentiates a Christian from an unbeliever for ‘if any man does not have the
Spirit of Christ, he is none of His (Lord Jesus)’ (Romans 8:9). Also the Holy
Spirit makes intercession for us for we do not know what we should pray for He
is in us and knows our needs while being God He also is aware of God’s plan for
each one of us (Romans 8:26).
should God the Holy Spirit pray to God the Father and God the Son for us? The
answer lies in understanding the reason why God desires that we pray to Him to
ask and seek. God created the universe to display His glory, for we were
created in God’s image and likeness. God declared that ‘Everyone who is called
by My name, whom I have created for My glory’ (Isaiah 43:7) so all of creation
but especially all believers were created and chosen to reveal His glory to
others. God has predestined our adoption as sons through His Beloved Son ‘to
the praise of the glory of His grace’ (Ephesians 1:6). Lord Jesus’ redemptive
sacrifice has not only freed us from the clutches of sin and the devil but also
made us able to reveal God’s glory to others.
reasons for offering prayers are, firstly, the main reason for creation was
to display the glory of His love and grace to the created. Second, we reveal
God’s glory to others through our daily living for as believers everything we
do, ‘do all to the glory of God’ to draw others attention to God’s glory and
the glory of His grace (1 Corinthians 10:31). Third, our obedience and works
will glorify God only if we consciously seek, depend on and walk in His grace
and power and not on our own ability. We are required to serve ‘as with the
ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through
Jesus Christ’ (1 Peter 4:11). The one who gives gets the glory and by complete
dependence on God for His power and guidance for everything we do, we glorify
Him. Fourth, prayer for God’s help manifests our dependence on His grace and
power and our prayers continuously remind us of this dependence. Even the
Lord’s Prayer reveals this daily dependence through our request to ‘Give us
this day our daily bread’. King David had received this assurance and command
from God ‘Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall
glorify Me’ (Psalm 50:15). Our permanent and conscious state of calling and
‘looking unto Lord Jesus’ while stepping forward in obedience gives Him glory.
Finally, when God the Holy Spirit prompts and directs our prayerful groaning of
the heart, God’s ultimate purpose is fulfilled.
God gets the glory because God the Spirit urges and creates these groaning; God
gets the glory for God the Father performs what His Spirit asks; God gets the
glory for God the Son purchased these blessings for us sinners with His blood;
God gets the glory for our hearts are made the centre of His Divine
actions. In this God makes me the epicenter
where His Spirit showers His love on me, guides and cares for me and awakens
these groanings in me so that the same are perfectly tuned in to God’s mercy to
do His Divine will for my life perfectly. When we feel weak due to a disease,
lack, persecution, failure or wrong decisions, do not despair for the anguish
of the heart for God the Holy Spirit is at work to help, to love and to pray.
We desire to control but best is to let Him and join Him in praying and trust
in His intercession for He knows what needs to be done.
of the Holy Spirit – Apostle Paul’s assigned role by the Lord was to
be ‘a chosen ve4ssel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the
children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My
name’s sake’ (Acts 9:15-16). He was well acquainted with sufferings and
groaning of the heart and his mentioning of the Holy Spirit’s ‘intercession for
us with groaning which cannot be uttered’ carry an important message (Romans
8:26). Deep down in our soul there is an area that is not open to analysis or
rationalization. This place is under constant development, where words fail and
only silence prevails. This is a place where just being there matters and where
there is only sighing of joy and ecstasy or groaning of anguish and pain. In
that state of complete stillness worship of God happens and hope abounds. This
is a state of being placeless for we are but sojourners here and our ultimate
destination is to be in the Savior’s presence eternally.
reach this exalted state of praying, the ladder has three steps – one, to talk
about prayer, the planning and identifying the prayer points and may be asking
others to join in prayer; second is to pray that is when we start the dialogue
with God to present our requests and finally to become the prayer itself. We
talk to each other from a state of separation for then we have so much to say.
Our separation from God due to sin has caused this state where we are always
looking for something, a job, life partner, business and even God and we are
perpetually looking in all the wrong places. We are homeless and wandering
while trying to and make others understand our situation. Heaven is a place of
silence, no chaos for when one reaches there, what could one say to the One who
knows everything. Act of speaking itself would be sacrilege in His presence and
where only sighing expresses all that I wanted to say. This is where I become a
prayer through my total surrender and that is what deep groaning of the Holy
Spirit are, for He leads us into that place.
Lord Jesus commanded Martha to remove the stone from her
brother Lazarus’ tomb and ‘Then they took away the stone from the place where
the dead man was lying. And Lord Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I
thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me’ (John
11:41- 42). Lord Jesus had not spoken a word to the Father but was heard. ‘God
has spoken once twice I have heard this; that power belongs to God’ (Psalm
62:11). God’s solitary Word achieves His designs for the LORD declares ‘My Word
will not return to Me void but shall accomplish what I please’ (Isaiah 55:11).
Hearing twice is through the meditative soul that hears the echo of God’s voice
for ‘he that has ears to hear let him hear’. Lord Jesus was in complete unity
with God the Father and He could communicate without speaking from the
stillness of His soul. He Himself became the prayer where He was always in
communication with the Father, knowing and doing His will.
Another reason for groaning of the Holy Spirit is caused by the pain of seeing
us not asking and receiving all that God has placed for us in heavenly places,
for we fail to understand God’s will.
We will be glorified with Lord Jesus provided we suffer with Him and these
sufferings are nothing in comparison to the glory that will be revealed to us
(Romans 8:17-18). Whole creation waits for being set free from bondage to
corruption and waits for the revealing of the sons of God and the whole
creation has been groaning. We groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption
as sons, the redemption of our bodies and then ‘the Spirit helps us in our
weakness’. Our bodies are not fully redeemed and we groan with sickness, with
losses, with frustrations’ for the age of God’s kingdom and the present
world are overlapping and in our incompleteness we groan. The Holy Spirit helps
us in this state by revealing God’s will and assuring us of our being heirs
with Lord Jesus.
shame of our sins leads us away from a loving and forgiving who cries out ‘come
to Me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest’. Lord Jesus has
promised to come looking for one lost sheep and even prayed to the Father for
‘the other sheep that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also’ (John
10:16). To strengthen us He blessed us with the indwelling Holy Spirit who
reveals the Word and guides us in prayer. God initiates prayers through His
Spirit to provide all that He has already destined for us in heavenly places.
The need is for us to open our ears to hear His voice!