The Power of Prayer

Pray in the Spirit always with all kinds of prayer and supplication. To that end be alert with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.–Ephesians 6:18

JESUS IS OUR MODEL

The Gospel reveals that Jesus began His ministry by being baptized with the Holy Spirit.  Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit to overcome temptation as a man.  He was filled with and led by the Holy Spirit.  This is the pattern we are to follow as His disciples.  The Holy Spirit wants to empower us to overcome the world, the flesh, and our adversary the devil.

Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted by the devil for forty days.—Luke 4:1,2 MEV

THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER

The first thing that JESUS did after His ascension to the Father was to send the Holy Spirit to empower the church.

‘I (JESUS) am sending the promise of My Father upon you. But wait in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high.’ —Luke 24:49 MEV

Now prior to this, during the last supper, Jesus taught His disciples about the coming ministry of the Holy Spirit in John 14-16.  He explained the advantage that the Holy Spirit would give them to fulfill the plan of God for their lives. After His resurrection He appeared to His disciples, who were hiding in fear for their safety and gave them the Holy Spirit.  But this was not the baptism of the Holy Spirit, rather the Holy Spirit indwelling them.  They were born again just as Jesus had explained to Nicodemus.

So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As My Father has sent Me, even so I send you.’  When He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. —John 20:21-22 MEV

Now that the disciples had received the Holy Spirit they were instructed to wait for the Promise of the Father which is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

He (JESUS) commanded them, “Do not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, of which you have heard from Me.  For John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”—Acts 1:4-5 MEV

We can see that there are two aspects of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the life of the believer: first, the Spirit indwelling us in the new birth, and second, the Spirit empowering us to be His witnesses. Why was it so important for them to wait for this baptism?  They would need the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill the plan of God—to make disciples.

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you shall be My witnesses… —Acts 1:8 MEV

The Promise of the Father came on the day of Pentecost.  It was a supernatural sight and sound event for the 120 disciples in the upper room.  The signs of wind and fire are indicative of what the Holy Spirit wants to do in and through us.  God gives believers a supernatural prayer language called speaking in other tongues.

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like a mighty rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared to them tongues as of fire, being distributed and resting on each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to speak. —Acts 2:1-4 MEV

This event caused a quite a stir.  On the feast of Pentecost, Jews from all over the Roman empire were making their pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem. A great crowd gathered. They were all amazed.  Some were doubting and wondering, and some mocking.  Peter explained from the Scriptures what was taking place in the upper room that caused such a stir. Here is Peter’s condensed sermon…

This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel. ‘In the last days it shall be,’ says God, ‘That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh.’  —Acts 2:16-17 MEV

Therefore, (JESUS) being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this which you now see and hear. —Acts 2:32-33 MEV

Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call.”—Acts 2:38-39 MEV

SUPERNATURAL PRAYER LANGUAGE

We see a pattern in the book of Acts that believers who received the gift of the Holy Spirit spoke in a supernatural tongue.  Sometimes He falls upon believers…

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word. All the believers of the circumcision who had come with Peter were astonished, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in other tongues and magnifying God. —Acts 10:44-46 MEV

Sometimes the Holy Spirit comes upon believers through the laying on of hands.  This was the common practice of the Apostle Paul.  We see an example of Paul ministering the baptism of the Holy Spirit to believers at Ephesus some 20 years after the day of Pentecost.

When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied. —Acts 19:6 MEV

Notice how believers who received the Promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, were filled and spoke in tongues.  This is how believers are empowered: by praying in other tongues.  It is to your advantage that you pray in tongues.

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to speak. —Acts 2:4 MEV

The Apostle Paul defines praying in tongues as praying in the Spirit.

For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. –1 Corinthians 14:14-15 MEV

 PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT

Praying in the Spirit enables you to pray beyond your own limitations.  Now our prayer life can operate on two dimensions.  We can pray the Word to the Father in Jesus name.  And we can also pray with the help of the Holy Spirit in our supernatural tongue.  Paul encouraged his spiritual son Timothy to stir up the gift.  How do we stir up the gift?  We do so by praying in the Spirit or praying in tongues.  This becomes a powerful advantage.

I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. –2 Timothy 1;6,7 NKJV

The early church demonstrated the power of the Gospel with healings, miracles, signs and wonders because they prayed continually in the Spirit.  We have to contend for the same power of the Gospel.  We do it by praying in the Spirit!

Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.  –Jude 3,20 MEV

The apostles in the early church devoted themselves to praying in tongues.  Notice they gave themselves continually to THE prayer.  The text reveals it was a specific kind of prayer, it was praying in the supernatural tongue they had received at Pentecost.

But we will give ourselves continually to [THE] prayer, and to the ministry of the word. —Acts 6:4 MEV

The apostle Paul instructs believers to pray in the spirit in the evil day—it is an advantage, to win in the test or temptation.

Pray in the Spirit always with kinds of prayer and supplication.  Be alert with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.—Ephesians 6:18 MEV

We need to be continually filled and under control of the Holy Spirit.

See then that you walk carefully, not as fools, but as wise men, making the most of the time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not be drunk with wine, for that is reckless living. But be filled with the Spirit. —Ephesians 5:15-18 MEV

HOW TO RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

How do we get this power, this infilling, or this baptism? How do we receive this advantage? We ask!  God wants us to receive it, enjoy it, and operate in it!

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.. If a son asks for bread from any of you who is a father, will you give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will you give him a serpent instead of a fish?  Or if he asks for an egg, will you offer him a scorpion?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? —Luke 11:9-13 MEV

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.—James 1:17 MEV

Have you received this gift- the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Jesus tells us to ask the Father for this gift. If you have received Jesus as your Savior and Lord then you have been born again, the Holy Spirit lives in you, and He is ready to fill you up and empower you! Ask your Heavenly Father for this gift and Jesus says He will certainly give it. Here is a prayer that you can pray to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit:

Father, You give good gifts, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a good gift. Please fill me now with the Holy Spirit. Fill me up to overflowing. Holy Spirit, rise up within me as I praise God. I fully expect to speak with other tongues as You give me the utterance. I believe that I receive the fullness of Your working in me now! Thankyou!

Now begin to praise God for filling you with the Holy Spirit. Speak the words and syllables you receive – not in your own language, but in the language given to you by the Holy Spirit. You have to use your own voice. God will not force you to speak. Don’t be concerned with how it sounds. It’s a heavenly language!


Summary:

Before He began His ministry, Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit so that He would learn to overcome the devil as a man and carry out the Father’s purposes. The book of Acts reveals the transformation that took place in the disciples lives too when they were empowered by the Holy Spirit. He can do the same in us! We too can become a blessing to others as we live our lives in the power of the Spirit. We become living proof (witnesses) that Jesus is alive and that the anointing upon Him is in us today! The Holy Spirit fills us and gives us a supernatural prayer language. What an advantage in prayer this gives to us!

Discussion Points:

  • Jesus is our pattern and example. How is Jesus’ experience with the Holy Spirit a model for us?
  • What is so powerful about the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
  • The disciples were born again and received the Holy Spirit before Jesus’ ascension (John 20:21,22) . So what they received on Pentecost was something more- the baptism of the Holy Spirit. What differences can you see in the disciples as a result of Pentecost?
  • What happens when we pray in the spirit (pray in tongues)? What are some advantages of this kind of prayer?
  • If you desire this Holy Spirit baptism and have not yet experienced it, how can you receive it?
  • How could you help someone else receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

Next Step:   Read the book of Acts.

Declaration:  Father, I thank you for your promise of the Holy Spirit.  Thank you for equipping me with supernatural power to be a witness!  Thank you Jesus for baptizing me in the Holy Spirit and giving me supernatural prayer language. Thank you Holy Spirit for giving me utterance in other tongues.  I thank you for my supernatural prayer language.  I will pray in the Spirit daily. I know You are helping me to pray the perfect will of God for me, in Jesus name.