Ephesians 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people
IN THE SPIRIT
What might be the difference between plain “praying” and praying “in the Spirit”? When we are in the Spirit, we are asking God to fill us with His Spirit and using the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. For example, asking to be filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18b) or asking His empowerment to forgive for the nth time, love, have peace and joy in the midst of suffering, and all other scriptural-based desires…wanting the things that God wants. The granting of these scriptural prayers are certain based on the promise in 1 John 5:14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we ask anything that God himself wants for us, that is definitely according to His will. This excludes prayers such as “may the cute, rich, married man leave his family so he can help boost my career” because this type of prayer is in opposition to God’s Word and will.
This is how God spoke of David “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after My own heart” (Acts 13:22). But in the Psalms, we can also see some of David’s most authentic prayers that can come across as unlikely to show up in a Bible. But they show us that God can take our rawest emotions. We can be authentic with God that helps us vent whatever feelings we have. He can take it. He helps us to process our feelings. He will provide wisdom, guidance, relief, and He will even answer us through His living Word.
By the time Jesus came (New Testament), He taught mercy and unlimited forgiveness, loving one’s enemy. In the end, it is God who will decide the merit of these prayers and if they should be granted. But God does allow authenticity, just not to blaspheme the Holy Spirit.
And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven (Luke 12:10)
Psalm 35:7-8 Since they hid their net for me without cause and without cause dug a pit for me, may ruin overtake them by surprise—may the net they hid entangle them, may they fall into the pit, to their ruin.
Yes, that’s in the bible. In its unfiltered state, the heart may utter such prayers. When authentic feelings are directed to God, He can take it. He can help us process our feelings and situations biblically. He can free us from the grip of negativity. When authentic feelings are directed to persons, whether they can take it or not is a question mark. (Ephesians 6 tells us clearly that our enemies are not people but only Satan). When words are uttered to persons without the filter of prayer, more often, these human relationships are aggravated, distracting us from the real spiritual warfare, diverting our focus on the wrong direction, thereby hindering our victory. Sometimes, the ensuing complications of venting out to persons get us entangled and serve as our unnecessary additional burdens to address.
Heb 12: 1b Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin tha two easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
ON ALL KINDS OF OCCASIONS WITH ALL KINDS OF PRAYERS AND REQUESTS
Philippians 4:6-7(NIV) 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
“All” includes every situation and kinds of prayers and requests, no exclusions. God does not want us to be anxious about anything. Instead, He wants His peace (based on who He is, the unchanging God, unlike the world’s peace dependent on changing happenings) to guard our hearts and minds, the seats where sin can linger, grow, and defile many. These do need guarding.
(WITH PRAYER IN MIND) BE ALERT
1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
God calls us to be alert (quick to notice any unusual and potentially dangerous or difficult circumstances) and sober (earnestly serious demeanor) because the devil is actively (prowls is in the active tense) looking for someone to devour (to use up, destroy as if by eating, prey upon).
After victories, we can be most vulnerable to being attacked because self-confidence index is high which lowers the perceived need for prayer. This part of warfare training teaches us that there is no room for complacency. In fact, the enemy is so smart that he will more likely attack us not when we are actively praying and in the state of God-dependence but the times when we are tired, weak, oozing with self-confidence (instead of God-dependence)… occasions when we are vulnerable and do not have the full armor of God.
ALWAYS KEEP ON PRAYING
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18B Pray continually (indefinitely in time without interruption).
It doesn’t mean we need to keep kneeling all the time but as we go about our work or even play, we have an attitude of seeking God and conversing with Him as we go along.
Romans 8:26-27 tells us that sometimes we may not even have the words, but in an attitude of seeking God, His all-knowing, all-powerful Holy Spirit acts as our intercessor! God’s Spirit Himself, is our intercessor! God’s Spirit who is one with the One mediator, Jesus Christ.
Rom 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus
We can’t beat that with any other intercessor! If we are children of God by receiving and believing in Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross to save us, we have God’s Spirit and Risen Son (who sits far above all rule, dominion, and authority) interceding for us!
FOR THE LORD’S PEOPLE
When we pray for the Lord’s people, we are praying for our own team. We are all in the same spiritual family with one heavenly Father.
1 Peter 5:9 NIV 9 Resist (the devil), standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
When we pray for our spiritual family, we strengthen ourselves. Sometimes, we are the ones praying for someone. Other times, it is that person praying for us. Definitely, we are never alone in our suffering. Sufferings may take on different appearances but whatever form ours take, it may seem to us like the worst. The family of believers supporting one another through prayer is an important protection in the spiritual battle.
Here is a previous post on The Small Group:
Here is a testimony of Dawn Urquico on how the small group (she refers to as “D-group” helped her in her victory (starting from Time 0:17):