WHEN WE PRAY

/ Day 6

As maturing believers, we must learn to pray “in the Spirit.” This means not simply praying under the guidance of our own small intellect but allowing the Spirit to actually lead us in prayer. When I was growing up, church folks would call this “praying through.” I had one friend whose mom always encouraged him to pray until he had “prayed through.”

Now, there is incredible power in praying in the Spirit using our own words, speaking from our heart to God about our personal thoughts, desires, and petitions. These prayers are led by the power and unction of the Spirit of God, but they are still made in accordance with our own understanding. This is powerful and essential, but there is another dimension of prayer that many believers seldom experience.

In some circles this aspect of prayer is referred to as a prayer language; in others, it’s referred to as a baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is often evidenced by speaking in what the Bible calls “other tongues.”

Different denominations—and even different churches within the same denomination—can vary in how they interpret Scripture in regards to speaking in tongues or praying in the Spirit. The issue has become so convoluted that what the Bible actually says about praying in tongues is rarely addressed, and I think the result is that one of the beautiful gifts of God is absent from the prayer lives of many believers.

Personally speaking, the greatest moves of God I’ve experienced in my own heart and life were when I moved from praying in my own understanding to praying in the Spirit.

I would describe this as being truly broken before God in prayer and worship. Even if you’ve never experienced this dimension of prayer or the baptism of the Holy Spirit, it is the promise and gift of God to all believers. Find a place to pray and ask God to baptize you in His Spirit, speaking in other tongues just as so many believers in the New Testament experienced regularly. You will never be the same.

Pastor and author Mark Batterson says it like this, “Don’t just pray for, pray through.”

What do the following Scriptures lead you to believe about praying in the Spirit?

The Forty Day Journey

Day 40

Near the end of his life, Bonhoeffer was reported to have said the following:

What bothers me incessantly is the question…who Christ really is for us today?

Biblical Wisdom

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the son of Man is?” and they said, “some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets?” he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:13-16

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? Luke 6:46

Questions to Ponder

  • What is the relationship between who Jesus was two thousand years ago and “who Christ really is for us today”?
  • Is there a difference between asking who Christ is for us and who Christ is for me? Explain.
  • How do we go about answering the question about “who Christ really is for us today”?

Psalm Fragment

“Be still, and know that I am God!
   I am exalted among the nations,
   I am exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

Journal Reflections

  • If someone asked you who Christ really is for you today, how would you answer?
  • You have finished a 40-Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer. How was the journey? What did you learn from Bonhoeffer? Has your understanding of what it means to be a Christian․to follow Jesus․changed? If so, how? What will be different in your life of faith for having taken this 40-day journey?

Intercessions

Pray for all those who will read this book, that their journey with Bonhoeffer might lead them closer to Christ.

Prayer for Today

Loving God, for where I have been and for where I am going on my journey with Jesus, I give you thanks and praise.