THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY (18)
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit and Prayer
Romans 8:26-27 “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
1: The Primacy of Holy Ghost Praying
“Likewise the Spirit also…”
Such is the spiritual nature of true prayer, that it is impossible to pray without the assistance of the Holy Ghost. Therefore the ministry of the Spirit is linked to praying in the New Testament:
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…” (Ephesians 6:18)
“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost…” (Jude v20)
2: The Problems without Holy Ghost Praying
“…helpeth our infirmities, because we know not what we should pray for as we ought…”
The reason why we need the assistance of the Holy Ghost is down to our “infirmities”. While Paul defines these infirmities as being ingnorance with regard to knowing what we should pray for, there is so much more involved than what is obviously apparent:
(a) We struggle to comprehend the vastness and the character of of God, whom we are addressing.
(b) We fail to appreciate the innumerable blessings that Grace has bestowed upon us.
(c) We have difficulty grasping the awesome reality of eternity and the vanity of time.
(d) We regularly offer petitions that are not agreeable to the will of God and would be harmful if He were to respond.
(e) The petitions that are agreeable to His will we lack the patience to wait on His time.
Only the ministry of the Holy Ghost can overcome these problems that are natural hindrances to prayer. By meditating upon the Word of God we are taught by the Holy Ghost how to overcome these barriers and wait on the Lord effectively. The Spirit always works in conjunction with the Word, therefore, it is only an understanding of the Scripture that can form the basis of an effective Spiritual prayer life. The Apostle Paul is a fascinating case study. He prayed for the removal of a debilitating physical condition, a thorn in the flesh. It was not the will of God for him to be healed of this condition but instead he was taught by the Spirit to be submissive to God, accept His plan and receive the grace that will always be sufficient. Therefore through his weakness Paul was strengthened, as he learned to pray in the Holy Ghost (2nd Corinthians 12:7-10). Our personal thorns in the flesh may not necessarily be physical handicaps or natural illness. They could be any one of a number of difficult circumstances that providence has cast on our lap. It is not always the will of God for these “thorns” to be removed because they may well be the the dreaded clouds of which Cowper wrote; “are filled with mercy, and shall break with blessings on our head.”
3: The Passion in Holy Ghost Praying
“…but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered…”
The intercession of the Spirit is not to be confused with the intercession of Christ at the right hand of God. Christ prays for us as our Mediator. The Holy Spirit, however, prays within our hearts, giving us desires, praises and petitions as we pray. Therefore the intercession of the Holy Ghost is our intercession and His groanings are our groanings. There are few facts more encouraging than this. Every spiritual desire that rises from our hearts is prompted by the Holy Ghost. In our prayers we often struggle, especially in dark days, to frame words or even to know what we ought to pray for, but pray we do, seek God we must and in those quiet moments the groaning of the soul is the product of the divine ministry of the Spirit Himself.
4: The Peace through Holy Ghost Praying
“…and he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit..”
It is a blessing to know that God knows what is in our hearts. God knows our hearts as His regenerated creatures because the third person of the Trinity is within. There are times we struggle to understand ourselves, our own thoughts, our own desires and our own fears. If we do not not understand ourselves then others will misjudge our intentions and our words but God knows the heart. He perceives our need, He recognises our fears and Christ is touched by our infirmity (Hebrews 4:15-16).
This was Job’s consolation in the midst of His terrible pain. There were so many aspects of his trial that he could not comprehend yet he could declare with assurance:
“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)
What greater argument can we employ to urge us into the place of prayer? We have a gracious understanding Father who ready to listen and to give from His stores of endless supply.
5: The Purpose from Holy Ghost Praying
“…because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
The end result of Holy Ghost praying is that we might walk in God’s will. This is God’s purpose for us in this life. It is only through prayer that our hearts are shaped in submission and the will of God is clarified to our ignorant hearts. The prayers of the Spirit will always be agreeable to the will of God and as such will never fail. The Word of God supplies us with Holy Ghost inspired prayers, which we can employ, applying to our own lives, as we seek God’s will and growth in grace. Paul’s prayer for the Colossians is one of the most useful:
“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” (Colossians 1:9-10)