THE HOLY SPIRIT
Chapter 3: The Holy Spirit Helps You Pray
Catholic students baptized with the Holy Spirit have written:
There was a newness in prayer, a newness that for many of us marked the beginning of a deeper faith life. ... Many were drawn to the long periods of prayer, marked by the predominance of the praise of God.
Prayer became a real joy -- the sense of the presence and the love of God was so strong that I can remember sitting a half hour just laughing out of the joy over the love of God.
My times spent in prayer were the happiest times. I was realizing the joy of prayer. Praise of God was something I had never done before. I always prayed when I wanted something or in thanksgiving, or because I knew it was the thing every good Christian should do in order to become closer to God and to better his life as a Christian. Now it was joyful to pray to God in praise of himself. I experienced an extreme closeness and joyfulness while I prayed.
If I had to say what effect the baptism in the Holy Spirit has had on my life, I would honestly say it has made being a Christian an exciting experience. It has given me a taste of eternal life in knowing Christ and the Father. No longer am I afraid of calling on the Holy Spirit for guidance, comfort and power to live a Christian life.
Condensed from Catholic Pentecostals, by Kevin and Dorothy Ranaghan. © 1969 by The Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle in the State of New York, Paulist Press Deus Books, N.Y., N.Y. 10019. Used by permission.
Back to Top
The Holy Spirit Teaches You to Pray
What is prayer in your daily life -- a duty or a conversation that you enjoy with God? Does God seem near you when you pray? Are your prayers answered? Do you want to work with God in prayer and see wonderful results? You have a Friend who specializes in teaching people how to pray -- the Holy Spirit.
You have studied how the Spirit makes God real to you. As He shows you how much God loves you, you love God more and want to spend more time with Him in prayer. You know that God cares about you and so you have confidence to ask God for what you need.
The Spirit gives you faith to ask and the assur-ance that God has heard and will answer. He uses God's Word to teach you to pray. The Bible tells you what to pray for, how to pray, and what to expect. The Spirit makes God's promises real to you and helps you claim them.
Prayer is talking with God. It may be in spoken words or just in your thoughts quietly turned toward God. It should be a two-way conversation -- you should listen to God as well as talk to Him. And when you speak to God you should do three things:
- Worship God.
- Confess your faults.
- Ask for what you want.
Think of your prayers as wheels that help you go forward in your Christian life and service for God. A wheel would not go very far with one section left out, would it? The Holy Spirit wants to help you in every part of your prayers.
For You to Do
1. What is prayer? _______________________________________________
2. Name three things that you should do in prayer. Put an X beside any part that seems weak in your prayers.
Back to Top
The Holy Spirit Helps You Worship God
What part does worship have in your prayers? In worship you express your love for God. If there is no love, there is no true worship, nothing but an empty form. The Holy Spirit takes you into God's presence and helps you respond to His love. Sometimes the words of a hymn express best the love you feel, so you sing to God. Some-times you praise Him in words and sometimes in silent appreciation of His goodness.
All of us... are able to come in the one Spirit into the presence of the Father (Ephesians 2:18).
For we worship God by his Spirit.... We do not put any trust in external ceremonies (Philippians 3:3).
God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
The great preacher Charles Finney wrote:
As I went in and shut the door after me, it seemed as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face. ... He said nothing, but looked at me in such a manner as to break me right down at His feet. I wept aloud like a child, and made such confessions as I could with my choked utterance. ... As I turned and was about to take a seat by the tire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. ... No words can express the wonderful love that was shed abroad in my heart. I wept with joy and love.
Do you want to make worship a part of your daily life? You can do it by cooperating with the Holy Spirit in these five ways:
1. Read a Psalm every day. The Psalms will help you appreciate God more.
2. Notice the prayers in the Bible. They are a pattern for you.
3. When you pray. worship God first before asking Him for your needs.
Enter into his gates with thanks-giving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him (Psalm 100:4).
4. Sing songs of worship and thanksgiving. Sing to God at home or in church. Think of the words and mean them. The Holy Spirit may even give you a new song of worship to God.
Be filled with the Spirit.... Sing hymns and psalms to the Lord, with praise in your hearts. Always give thanks for everything to God the Father (Ephesians 5:18-20).
5. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Many of those who have been filled with the Holy Spirit tell of the new joy and freedom that they find in worship. The Holy Spirit wants to help you too.
For You to Do
3. Thank God for sending the Holy Spirit to help you worship Him. Then for five minutes thank and praise and worship God without asking Him for anything.
4. Read Psalm 145 aloud to God. Sing a worship song to God.
5. Write a list of things that you are thankful for. Thank God for them.
Back to Top
The Holy Spirit Helps You Confess
Have you ever felt that you were praying against a wall and couldn't get through to God? The Holy Spirit wants to help you get rid of anything that hinders your prayers. Think of how a child acts when he is disobeying his father. Is he glad to see his father? Does he run to meet him or stay out of his way? If he needs his father's help, his guilt is a barrier. He needs to confess what he has done, ask his father to forgive him, and stop disobeying. When he does this, he is reassured of his father's love and has confidence to ask for help.
The same thing happens between us and God. However, we are often blind to our own faults. So the Holy Spirit helps us by showing us our faults. He shows us how terrible sin is and helps us confess our sins to God. If we have wronged others, He tells us to ask their forgiveness too and helps us do all we can to make things right. This has been a part of revivals ever since Bible days.
Jonathan Goforth gives many examples in When the Spirit's Fire Swept Korea. For months the Presbyterian and Methodist missionaries had been meeting daily to pray for revival. A great revival came that went on for years and produced strong, spiritual churches. It began in one of the outstations of Ping Yang.
While conducting the service in the usual way many commenced weeping and confessing their sins. Mr. Swallen said he had never met with anything so strange, and he announced a hymn, hoping to check the wave of emotion which was sweeping over the audience. He tried several times, but in vain, and in awe he realized that Another was managing that meeting. (© 1943 by Londervan Publishing House. Grand Rapids. Michigan. Used by permission.)
After this, the mother church in Ping Yang expected special blessing during a week of prayer, but it seemed their prayers were not answered. On the last evening, the 1,500 persons present were startled when the leading man of the church, Elder Keel, stood up and said that God could not bless them because of his sin. At the request of a dying friend, he had agreed to administer his estate. But in doing so he had kept back a large sum of money for himself. After confessing his sin, he said, "I am going to give the money back to that widow tomor-row morning."
Instantly it was realized that the barriers had fallen, and that God, the Holy One, had come. Conviction of sin swept the audience. The service commenced at seven o'clock Sunday evening, and did not end until two o'clock Monday morning, yet during all that time dozens were standing weeping, awaiting their turn to confess.
It paid well to have spent the several months in prayer, for when God the Holy Spirit came He accomplished more in half a day than all of us missionaries could have accomplished in half a year. In less than two months more than two thousand ... were converted.
By the middle of 1907 there were 30,000 converts connected with the Ping Yang center. It was clear that the revival had not died down by 1910. for in October of that year 4.000 were baptized in one week. When the Spirit's Fire Swept Korea by Jonathan Goforth.
What happened at Ping Yang has happened time and again all around the world in many different churches during the Twentieth Century. As Christians let the Holy Spirit search their souls He reveals the hindrances to revival. When Christians confess their sins and make things right with God and man. God can use them for His glory. Revival comes. Prayers are answered. Souls are saved.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray. and seek my face. and turn from their wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and there is no truth in us. But if we confess our sins to God, we can trust him, for he does what is right -- he will forgive us our sins and make us clean from all our wrongdoing (1 John 1:8-9).
Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer (Psalm 19:12, 14).
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23, 24).
For You to Do
6. What did the Holy Spirit show the Christians in Ping Yang, Korea: their future, their privileges, or their faults? _____________________________________________________
7. Read Psalm 51 prayerfully.
8. Memorize 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Psalms 19:12. 14; 139:23-24. Repeat these verses to God. Wait for the Holy Spirit to show you your faults. Ask His forgiveness and help. Do what He shows you that you should do.
Back to Top
The Holy Spirit Shows You What to Ask
The Spirit of Prayer
The Holy Spirit encourages you to ask your heavenly Father for what you need. He reminds you to pray for others and their needs. And he gives you faith to believe God will give you what you ask.
For the Spirit that God has given you does not make you a slave and cause you to be afraid; instead, the Spirit makes you God's sons, and by the Spirit's power we cry to God, Father! my Father! (Romans 8:15).
Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart (Philippians 4:6).
But sometimes you don't even know what you need. You might ask for the wrong things. So the Holy Spirit, your helpful Friend, is right there to put in your mind what to ask in prayer both for yourself and for others.
God has chosen to work through your prayers. Where there is a need. He tells His children to pray. Then He does what is necessary in answer to their prayers. This is how He saves souls, sends revival, heals the sick, solves problems and supplies needs.
God gives you the responsibility of praying for your family, your friends, your church, your country and your world. How to pray affects God's work all around the world.
The Holy Spirit may impress you to pray for a certain person without letting you know what his need is. Maybe the person is deathly sick, or in great danger, or facing a terrible temptation, or in urgent need of supernatural power to do God's work. Your prayers will help him.
A Christian in Portland, Oregon, said to his pastor, Joseph Bogue: "I had a wonderful experience today. God spoke to me and told me to pray for some-one by the name of Alva Walker in Africa. I prayed until I felt the assurance that God had answered." Half a world away a missionary named Alva Walker had been dying with blackwater fever. While his unknown brother in Christ prayed, he fell asleep and woke up on his way to recovery. His life was saved because some one obeyed the Spirit.
Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God's people (Ephesians 6:18).
For You to Do
9. Memorize Philippians 4:6; Ephesians 6:18.
10. Pray for others who are studying The Holy Spirit. Pray for the friends for whom you requested an evangelistic course.
Back to Top
The Holy Spirit Prays Through You
The Key of Forgiveness
The Holy Spirit will pray through you in your own language with an intensity beyond your natural way of praying. It may be for a need you have already felt. Or it may be for a need that the Holy Spirit makes you conscious of as He directs your mind and feelings. The prayer pours out the depths of your soul with great urgency. The Holy Spirit pleads with God for your needs or for the needs of others.
As you pray you may feel a burden as if the desperate need were your own. The Holy Spirit may pray through you in weeping over a need you sense but do not understand.
Jesus made his prayers and re-quests with loud cries and tears to God (Hebrews 5:7).
The Spirit also comes to help us, weak that we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray ... the Spirit pleads with God on behalf of his people, and in accordance with his will (Romans 8:26-27).
Sometimes the Holy Spirit may want to pray through you in a language that He and the Father know, but you don't. Paul calls this praying in tongues, or glossolalia. In some places it is transla-ted "to speak in strange sounds" because any lan-guage that we don't understand is strange sounds to us.
The Holy Spirit prays through you for details of problems that you don't need to know about. He takes authority over the Satanic powers that would hinder your prayers. He claims the victory and praises God for the answer. And He expresses in the language of heaven the love that you don't know how to express, the need that burdens your soul, or the praise that fills your heart.
Paul taught the Corinthian church that letting the Holy Spirit pray through them in tongues was important, but that it did not take away their responsibility of praying with their understanding too. Both kinds of prayer are necessary.
The one who speaks in strange tongues does not speak to men but to God, because no one understands him. He is speaking secret truths by the power of the Spirit. For if I pray in this way, my spirit prays indeed, but my mind has no part in it. What should I do, then? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray also with my mind (I Corinthians 14: 2, 14-15).
Pray for one another (James 5:16).
God offers you the exciting adventure of working with Him. Let the Holy Spirit lead you, teach you to pray and pray through you. You will see many wonderful answers to prayer as you accept this ministry.
For You to Do
11. Memorize Romans 8:26-27. Do you want the Holy Spirit to pray through you? Talk with Him about it.
12. Do you want a ministry of prayer? Begin now. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you sen-sitive to His leading. Use your opportuni-ties to pray at church and at home. If possible, join for an hour or more of prayer with friends who know how to let the Holy Spirit pray through them. Thousands are studying the free online discipleship courses of Living by the Book. Pray for their salvation and for sufficient offerings to keep printing the courses.
Check Your Answers
1. talking with God
2. worship, confess, ask
6. their faults
Back to Top
Go to Chapter 4: The Holy Spirit Leads You
Go back to Chapter 2: The Holy Spirit Gives You Life