Holy Spirit & Prayer
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND PRAYER
A. Introduction: In the past few lessons we have been talking about the Holy Spirit and what He has been sent to do for us and in us.
1. When Jesus completed His work on earth and went back to heaven, He and the Father sent the Holy Spirit. John 14:16,26;15:26
2. He has been sent to do in us and through us all that Christ accomplished for us. He is the one who applies the benefits of what the Cross accomplished. Titus 3:5; John 3:5
3. The Holy Spirit is God the Fatherís gift or promise to His children. Luke 24:49;
Acts 1:4; 2:33,39; Gal 3:13,14
a. An all wise, all loving God surely picked the best gift for His children.
b. Remember, Jesus said it was expedient that He go back to heaven so that the Holy Spirit could come. John 16:7
4. The Holy Spirit is the least known member of the Trinity, yet He is the one who is specifically sent to work with the Church, with Christians, with us.
a. One reason He is not as well known as the Father and the Son is because of the role He chose to take in redemption. John 16:13-15
1. He chose a role of submission and allowed Himself to be sent.
2. His purpose is to draw attention to Jesus, and through Him, to the father.
b. It is important that we learn what He has come to do and how He works so we can cooperate with Him. Mark 16:20; Acts 15:4,12; I Cor 3:9; II Cor 6:1
5. II Cor 13:14--The Holy Spirit works in us and with us as we intelligently cooperate with Him. Communion = KOINONIA = partnership; lit: participation, associate, companion.
6. We want to continue to talk about the Holy Spirit and how we cooperate with Him.
B. As we read through the Book of Acts, we see two distinct experiences with the Holy Spirit -- unbelievers were born of the Spirit and believers were baptized in the Spirit. John 20:19-22; Acts 2:1-4; 8:5-25; 9:1-18; 10:1-48; 19:1-7
1. This second experience with the Holy Spirit -- believers being baptized in the Holy Spirit -- was considered very significant by these first Christians.
a. Jesus told the disciples not to go out and preach the gospel until they had been baptized in the Holy Spirit. Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4
b. Philip preached the gospel in the city of Samara and the people received Jesus. When the apostles at Jerusalem heard the news, they sent Peter and John to Samaria to pray for the new converts to receive the Holy Ghost. Acts 8:14-17
c. When Paul met what he thought was a group of believers at the city of Ephesus, his first question to them was -- have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed? Acts 19:1,2
2. This second experience with the Holy Spirit came to believers in one of two ways.
a. He fell or was poured out on some of them. Acts 2:1-4; 10:45-48; 11:15
b. Others received when believers who had already been baptized in the Holy Spirit laid hands on them. Acts 8:17; 9:17; 19:6
3. There has been a lot of argument over this second experience with the Holy Spirit -- especially since the Pentecostal movement began in the early 1900s and the charismatic movement hit in the 1960s and 1970s.
a. But, the Book of Acts clearly describes two experiences with the Holy Spirit. Jesus called it the Spirit within and the Spirit upon. John 14:17; Acts 1:8;
John 4:13,14; 7:37-39
b. The model in scripture is two distinct experiences with the Holy Spirit, the second of which is accompanied by speaking in other tongues, and sometimes by other manifestations. Acts 2:4,33,38,39; 10:46; 19:6; 8:18,19; 9:17; I Cor 14:18
c. A divine person, the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, came on believers (after they were born again) and filled them with Himself. And, there was outward evidence that He had filled them -- tongues, prophecy, etc.
d. The baptism in the Holy Spirit gives Him greater access to us, and is a doorway to the supernatural for Christians. Acts 1:8
4. Our partnership with the Holy Spirit becomes effective as we acknowledge who and what is in us -- the person of God, the power of God, the life of God. Philemon 6
a. Communication = KOINONIA = partnership. Effectual = ENERGES = active, operative. Acknowledging = EPIGNOSIS = full discernment, recognition.
b. We study Godís word to see what has happened to us, in us, as a result of being born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit. Then, we agree with it -- believe it and speak it out, and the Holy Spirit gives us the experience.
5. Rom 10:9,10--The saving work of Christ on the Cross became effective in you when you believed and confessed the facts of the gospel. You acknowledged what God had done for you and the Holy Ghost gave you the experience.
a. That process is to continue after you are born again. Confession is made unto strength, healing, victory, guidance, and everything else the Cross has provided.
b. Confession = HOMOLOGIA = saying the same thing as. You say what God says about what He has done for you through the Cross of Christ.
C. That leads to another point. How do you pray to the Holy Spirit? Do you pray or talk to Him?
1. There are no specific instructions in the Bible about praying to the Holy Spirit.
2. We have already seen that the first thing we need to do in regard to the Holy Spirit is to confess what He has written in the Bible about what God has done for us and in us through the Cross of Christ.
3. When Jesus was on earth, He told His followers that when they had a need, they were to ask the Father in Jesusí name. John 16:23; 15:16
a. In the Book of Acts, we see the disciples do just that, and we see that it is the Holy Spirit who actually brings or manifests the answer. Acts 4:22-33
b. This is the pattern or model for prayer: We ask the Father based on what the Son, Jesus, has done for us, and the Holy Spirit brings it to pass.
4. The Holy Spirit has come to be our Helper, and one of the ways He helps us is by helping us to pray. Rom 8:26,27
a. He gives us prayers to pray in the epistles. Eph 1:16-20; 3:14-19; Col 1:9-11
b. He gives us the ability to pray in tongues -- groaning which cannot be uttered in articulate speech. A primary purpose for tongues is prayer.
5. In Eph 6:10-18 Paul wrote about how Christians are to deal with the opposition that comes against us in this life -- be strong in the Lord, recognize our true enemy, deal with him with the armor of God -- and, we are to pray in the Spirit. v18
a. To the Ephesians, praying in the Spirit would have meant praying in tongues.
b. In I Cor 14 we see how Paul who established and taught the church at Ephesus defined praying in the Spirit. v2,14,15
c. I Cor 14:14--For if I pray in an [unknown] tongue, my spirit [by the Holy Spirit within me] prays, but my mind is unproductive. (Amp)
D. Remember, the context of everything said about the Holy Spirit in the epistles is Acts. That is the time period and the circumstances in which the churches to whom these letters were written were established.
1. So, we must always read with this thought in mind -- what did this mean to the people to whom it was originally written, not what does it mean to me.
2. There isnít much specifically written about tongues in the Bible -- how to do it, why we do it, etc. There is no chapter written to prove that tongues are for today or that all should speak in tongues. Why, especially when there is so much controversy about it?
a. The Bible doesnít prove the existence of tongues and other manifestations of the Holy Spirit, the Bible presumes it and then tells us about it.
b. Paul (who wrote Ephesians) didnít have to prove anything about tongues or other supernatural manifestations to these people. It was happening to them.
c. In fact, the most detailed description, explanation, and instruction we have on supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit is found in I Cor 12,13,14.
d. These things were written primarily to correct problems in a carnal church in this particular area -- not to establish rules for us.
3. Tongues is a language not known or understood by the one doing the speaking. The Holy Spirit gives the speaker the words.
a. Tongues may or may not be understood by the listener, depending on what particular language is being spoken. It can be a language spoken on the earth or not. Acts 2:4-11; I Cor 13:1;14:2
b. The Holy Spirit does not make anyone speak in tongues. He indwells people when they are baptized in the Holy Spirit, and gives them the words as they speak. Acts 2:4
c. If you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit you can speak in tongues. You control it. You can start it and stop it.
4. There are two general categories of tongues -- those meant to be spoken in public to others, and those meant for the private, personal use of the individual believer.
a. Public tongues are not for everyone and they are always accompanied by an interpretation in the language of the listeners. I Cor 12:7-11;30
b. Personal tongues are for every believer and are spoken to God. I Cor 14:2
c. This personal tongue is only spoken to God because it edifies only the speaker.
d. This public gift (tongues and interpretation) edifies the listeners. I Cor 14:4,5
5. That does not mean these private tongues cannot be spoken in church. They can be, as part of group praise, worship, and prayer to God. Acts 2:4 (120 of them at least;
Acts 1:15); Acts 10:33,46; 19:6,7
E. Some who object to speaking in tongues today take their proof verses from I Cor 13,14.
1. It is vital that we get the proper context. Paul wasnít listing the rules for praying in tongues. He was writing to correct misuses of tongues in the church at Corinth.
2. In chapter 11 Paul begins to address some problems in the public assemblies at Corinth -- inappropriate headwear, divisions, drunkenness and gluttony at the Lordís supper.
3. In 12:1 Paul begins to instruct them about things of and pertaining to the Holy Spirit.
a. v8-11--He discusses manifestations or gifts of the Spirit.
b. v12-30--He discusses how the Holy Spirit has formed the Body of Christ.
c. 12:31--Paul tells them to hunger for gifts of the Holy Ghost to operate in the body.
4. In chapter 13, he tells them not to forget about love. If you have the gifts of the Spirit without the love of the Spirit (Rom 5:5), itís a waste of time.
5. In chapter 14 Paul explains the importance of order in their meetings. Paulís goal is not to make THE definitive list of rules for praying in tongues for all time and eternity.
a. He is trying to restore order to an out of order church. 14:33,39,40
b. You canít use v27,28 to prove no one is supposed to speak in tongues in church.
6. Some use I Cor 13:8 as proof that tongues have passed away. But, once again, context is vitally important.
a. Paul is writing to Christians who were not walking in love toward each other (divisions in church, suing each other, proud, unconcerned with edifying others).
b. In I Cor 13 Paul takes time to express the importance of love. Love will outlast other manifestations and gifts of the Spirit.
c. Love will not fail (drop away or become inefficient). Prophecy will become useless. Tongues shall come to an end. Knowledge will become useless.
7. When will this happen? When the perfect has come. What does perfect mean?
a. Some say perfect means the NT in written form, therefore, tongues have ceased.
b. However, that is imposing an outside meaning on the word perfect which is not in the context. In context, perfect is when we see the Lord face to face.
8. How do we know this type of tongues (the individual, private, prayer kind) is for all believers even down to our day and beyond?
a. Acts 2:33,39--Peter said the promise of the Father which could be seen and heard is for all whom the Lord God shall call.
b. I Cor 14:5--Paul said he wants all believers to speak in tongues.
c. Eph 6:18; Jude 20--The instructions to pray in the Spirit are written to all Christians, not just first century Christians.
9. If we could bring one of the apostles back to earth and tell him that speaking in tongues has become a controversial subject among Christians, he wouldnít have any idea what we were talking about. To them, tongues were part of the help the Holy Ghost was sent to provide as we work together with Him showing Jesus to the world.
F. In light of all of this, how do you pray? How do you cooperate with the Holy Spirit?
1. First and foremost, develop the habit of confessing that God is in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. Phil 2:13
2. Pray what you know to pray in English. That means two things.
a. Pray the prayers specifically given to us by the Holy Spirit in the epistles.
b. Find scriptures which relate to what you are praying about and pray in line with those scriptures. Matt 9:36-38
3. When youíve done that, pray in tongues. ďLord, Iíve prayed all I know to pray in English. Now, I look to the divine Helper and depend on Him to help me to pray. Thank you precious Holy Spirit for giving me the right words to pray. Then pray in other tongues.
4. It is also good to take time to pray in tongues to build yourself up. Jude 20: I Cor 14:4
G. Conclusion: We havenít said everything there is to say about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives, but remember this: It isnít about rules or formulas, itís about relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.