How “On Earth” Can I Pray?
Most cities now have signs posting Amber Alerts to help authorities rescue children who have been abducted. At any given time there are approximately 90,000 missing persons in the U.S.
Pastors are cancelling mid-week Prayer Meetings because of missing persons—church members have stopped attending. But the missing person I’m referring to is not the deacon, Sunday-School teacher, or church member. The missing PERSON in prayer is the HOLY SPIRIT!
When Jesus died on Calvary, He “gave up the ghost” (Mark 15:37). When the spirit left His body, He died. When the Spirit leaves the prayer meeting, it dies. How many churches have “given up the ghost” (that is the Holy Ghost)? Without the animating “Spirit”, a “church body” simply cannot and will not pray.
On the individual level, as well as the corporate level, there will be no genuine prayer apart from the Holy Spirit. Samuel Chadwick stated, “Prayer is an impossible task without the Holy Ghost.” In the Book of Acts we find 38 references to prayer and 53 references to the Holy Spirit. Their amazing vibrancy in prayer was due to the preeminence of the Holy Spirit “in” and “among” the early church.
The New Testament makes an undeniable connection between the Holy Spirit and prayer:
- (Rom. 8:15) “But ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father”
- (Eph. 6:18) “Praying always…in the Spirit
- (Jude 20) “Praying in the Holy Ghost”
- (Rom 8:26) “We know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession…”
We have heard many sermons on the…
- Need of prayer…
- Discipline of prayer…
- Components of prayer…
- Benefits of prayer…
- Power of prayer…
but not many messages on the Person of Prayer. Our entire spiritual existence hinges on our relationship with the Spirit of Christ.
Is it fair to say that the Holy Spirit is the neglected member of the Trinity? In the last 30 days, how often have you thought about, acknowledged, honored, and consulted the Holy Spirit? Have you ignored and forgotten Him?
It would be preposterous to claim close friendship with an individual, but never speak with them. We talk to the people we know and love. Paul closed out his epistle to the Corinthians with these words: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ…and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all”(2 Cor. 13:14). This verse instructs us to have communion (fellowship) with the Holy Spirit. How can you have communion with a Person without communicating with Him? The Spirit is not only with you—He is literally inside of you. When was the last time you acknowledged His presence within? When was the last time you spoke with the Holy Spirit?
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself…He shall glorify me…” (John 16:13-14). The phrase “He shall not speak of Himself” has been misapplied. A lot of us have been taught that the Spirit does not speak of Himself—He only speaks of Christ. But that is not true. The Holy Spirit wrote the Bible, so obviously He said a lot “about” Himself. Rick Flanders is helpful here: “The mistake in interpreting this verse is in taking “ofhimself” as meaning “about himself.” The meaning of the word, both the Greek and in the English of John 16:13 is “from” instead of “about.” Can you see this in the passage? The Holy Spirit would be speaking, not from Himself alone, but from the entire Trinity of God.” This passage does not teach that the Spirit is reluctant to speak about Himself, nor that we should be reluctant to speak of Him. The Holy Spirit is Almighty God and as such should never be diminished, slighted, or disregarded. To neglect one member of the Trinity dishonors the other two, because God is one.
Jesus instructed us to pray—“Our Father” (Matt. 6:9). Jesus encouraged believers to pray ‘in His name’ (John 14:13). But I find no scripture that forbids speaking to God the Spirit. H. A. Ironside said, “The Christian must be prayerful in the Holy Spirit. He must take time to speak to the One who speaks to him in the written Word.”
Many years ago, John R. Rice was preaching at a conference when he opened his address with this prayer: “Oh Father, breathe on me. Lord Jesus, help me to preach tonight. Holy Spirit, give me power.”Immediately afterwards a young preacher chastised Brother Rice saying “You made a serious mistake when you prayed. The proper procedure is to pray to the Father through the Son and in the Spirit.” Dr. Rice looked at him with a sheepish grin and replied, “Son, I’ve been in that family a long time. I know them all personally.”
The Holy Spirit is God. Nowhere in Scripture is He called the “third Person” of the Trinity, as if He were a lesser member in the Godhead. He is called the “Spirit of God” (Rom. 8:9). He is named the “Spirit of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:11). He is mentioned in at least 207 verses in the New Testament alone. Sounds like a TREMENDOUS emphasis on this neglected member of the Godhead! The question is: should the excesses and abuses of some cause us to give a lesser place to the Spirit than the Bible does? Rather than get wrapped around the axle on technicalities, would it not be better to welcome the PERSON of prayer back into your heart, and the prayer meetings at your church?
To live neglecting the Spirit of God reduces life to drudgery and duty.
Since prayer is impossible apart from the filling of the Spirit, then the first order of business is to get honest about one’s condition. When it comes to prayer, honesty is not the best policy; it is the only way to reach the ear of God. There are no degrees of honesty. God knew in advance that many of us would be afflicted with S.A.D.D.—Spiritual Attention Deficit Disorder. He made provision on Calvary for cleansing from this horrible sin of forgetting and neglecting His Spirit. Thanks to God’s mercy we can get emptied and cleansed from this transgression. You can be realigned with the Holy Spirit today!
“Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you” (Prov. 1:23). Honoring the Holy Spirit is the birthplace of prayer. Responding to conviction is the path to the Spirit’s fullness. Your Christian experience will be Supernatural or Superficial, depending on your relationship with the Holy Spirit. Your prayer life correlates directly to the PERSON of prayer.
Walter Wilson was a Doctor, Pastor, and President of a Bible College in Kansas City. A missionary to France was visiting in his home and asked, “What is the Holy Spirit to you?’’ Dr. Wilson gave the orthodox answer, “He is the Comforter, guide, and third Person of the Trinity.” The missionary responded, “You have given a place of dishonor and inferiority to the Holy Spirit. What is the Holy Spirit to you?” Wilson let down his guard and got honest—“He is nothing to me. I can do quite well without Him.” This put him on a quest. Later he heard James M. Gray speaking from Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren…that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice…” The text does not say to whom you are to present your body. So to whom should we present our bodies?
- Jesus has a body…
- God the Father does not need a body…
- The Holy Spirit is looking for a body.
- Will you give Him yours?
Walter Wilson heeded that challenge and gave his body to Holy Spirit. He became a dynamo for God. Will you present your body to Him—right NOW?
Resolutions to “pray more” are doomed from the outset. Daily cleansing, daily emptying, daily filling, daily praying, and daily thanking are normal for those who live a Spirit-filled life. To be a praying person, you must get filled with the PERSON of prayer.
You got saved by depending on the death of Christ. You get filled by depending on the LIVING Christ. F. B. Meyer went for years desiring to be filled with the Spirit but did not know how. One day in a prayer meeting a text jumped out and accosted him—“That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3:14). He left the meeting and went out into the street praying, “O Lord, if there was ever a man who needs the power of the Holy Spirit, it is I. But I do not know how to receive Him, I am too tired, too worn out, too nervously rundown to agonize.” Then a voice spoke to him, “As you took forgiveness from the hand of the dying Christ, take the Holy Spirit from the hand of the Living Christ.” Dr. Meyer said, “I took for the first time and have kept taking ever since.”
Everything you need is INSIDE of you. We already have this “treasure” within—the PERSON of prayer—the Holy Spirit. Would you YIELD, ASK, and BELIEVE for a fresh filling this very moment? This is the only way “on earth” to pray—under the control of the Spirit of God.
March 4, 2015
The Missing Person In Prayer audo message by Harold Vaughan