July 1, 2018
Nehemiah Part 4 | Praying in the Spirit + Good News Church Prayer Team
Tribe Recap July 1, 2018 | Nehemiah 4 ~ Focus on Power in Prayer
We live in a time where desperate prayer is desperately needed. Persistent prayer is powerful – the payer you never stop praying, the prayer you say continuously, as in Luke 18:1-8. Sometimes never leaving God’s throne is the thing that causes the God of Heaven to grant your request.
Other times it’s the gut-wrenching prayer. In I Samuel 1:9-28 Hannah pleads with God so passionately that Eli thinks she is drunk. Her passionate gut-wrenching prayer moves God - and Samuel the prophet is born as a result. Samuel delivered the entire nation from their enemies, delivered God’s messages, and anointed Israel’s first king.
And in the book of Nehemiah the third wave of Jews returning from exile was birthed out of prayer and fasting, a very powerful expression of prayer. Ezra prayed and fasted the second wave back and Daniel the prophet prayed back the first wave. Seasons of prayer and fasting are extremely powerful in getting a breakthrough.
But there is another expression that is powerful as well – praying in the Spirit. I Corinthians 14 gives instruction on how this gift is most helpful when operating in a corporate or group setting, like church. The apostle Paul underscores the value of interpretation of speaking in tongues in this chapter; people in a group need to understand what is being said so they can be built up by the prophetic value of the message.
But the main purpose of praying in the Spirit is not for corporate or group use, but for building up the spirit inside a man as he talks directly to God. Have you asked yourself, “What does my spirit need to say to God’s Spirit?” Have you considered, “What does my spirit need to be praying for?”
When I became a pastor and realized I was responsible for the spiritual growth and health of a group of people, I became desperate to pray the prayers Jesus himself would pray if he were in my position. Who should I pray for? What should I pray for concerning them? How should I pray?
I felt this deep, deep groaning to pray prayers I didn’t know how to pray. I read verses like Psalm 5:1-2 “Give ear to my word, O Lord, Consider my groaning. Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God.” The groan, or in Hebrew, the ‘hagah ’ (Strong’s H1897) of my spirit was very great. It churned inside me like a meditative growl to pray for God’s people.
Then the Lord lead me to Romans 8:26 “And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
After almost 40 years of struggling intellectually with praying in the Spirit, and turning away from it, I got alone with the Lord and allowed the deep groaning inside me to come out of my mouth. And low and behold, a language I never heard before emerged out of my mouth from somewhere very deep inside.
In the moments when I am in God’s presence, alone with God in his throne room, I groan with God, I pray in the Spirit. These desperate times are in need of desperate prayer. They need prayer that is in perfect alignment with what God would pray through us. Praying in the Spirit is a desperate act to see God move.
I Corinthians 14:1 tells us to pursue love…that we might take care of each other well. From this position we desire spiritual gifts so we will have the tools to love God perfectly and his people with wisdom and power. So let us pursue loving people and desire to pray in the Spirit, that the One with intercession deeper than words may pray through us…not by means of obligation, but by means of an invitation to pray breakthroughs into existence…just like Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah did.