Many Christian believers never experience the depth of praying in the spirit because of wrong perceptions, fear of the unknown or lack of knowledge. Others simply do not feel a need for this spiritual endowment. There are those in the Body of Christ who say that praying in the spirit or praying in other tongues has passed away.
At one time I myself questioned the usefulness of speaking in a prayer language even though I had grown up in a denomination that majored on speaking in other tongues (a language other than your native language). This should not be a subject that divides the Body of Christ. Our foundation for unity is receiving and acknowledging Jesus as Lord, believing with the heart that God raised Him from the dead. We get in trouble when we insist that everyone must be “just like me.” God is a God of diversity and we need one another, each functioning in his gift.
For as in one physical body we have many parts (organs, members) and all of these parts do not have the same function or use, So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another]. Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them:
My thirst for God led me to a study on this subject, and today I find this a valuable tool of intercessory prayer. There are times when I am at a loss of words when I am praying for others, and sometimes even for myself!
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
The Holy Spirit searches the hearts and knows what the mind of the Spirit is, and He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Not knowing how to pray about a certain situation is the appropriate time to use your prayer language — to pray in a tongue that is unknown to your natural mind. On those occasions when you have exhausted your knowledge of the situation, there is still Someone who knows every aspect of the case. He also knows the mind of the Father in a way that is far above and beyond your natural understanding. Your praying in the Spirit—in an unknown tongue—enables the Holy Spirit to assist you in achieving His desired results.
Let me share with you an experience that I believe will help to illustrate this “deeper level” of intercession.
Several years ago after I had been praying for my dad, a minister of the Gospel, for several minutes, I said, “Father, I don’t know what else to pray or how to pray for my daddy. I don’t know anything else to pray.” (Have you ever been in that situation?) I began to pray in a heavenly language, speaking directly to the Father, and in a very short time I became aware that the Spirit of God was helping me pray. I was uttering heartrending sobs in a language that I had never expressed before in prayer. It was beyond my human understanding. I was no longer praying with my mind, I was praying with my spirit as the Holy Spirit gave utterance.
After an interval of time, I began to pray with my understanding in my native tongue, English. From my innermost being came these words (again by the Spirit of God), “Father, I thank You that my daddy is not ready to be offered up, that his time of departure is not at hand, that it is only after the fulfillment of his destiny that Buck Griffin will say, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.’ Then, Father, he will receive the crown of righteousness which You have laid up for him on that day.” The Scriptures confirmed that I was praying the will of God.
Then I began to rejoice in God my Redeemer, laughing, clapping and dancing about the room. A few days later I learned that he had come to believe that his ministry was over, that no one wanted to hear what he had to say, that there was no longer a place for him in the body of Christ.
Only the Spirit of God could have known these things. He was searching out the heart of this servant of God according to divine knowledge. While the enemy was working against him with thoughts contrary to the will of God, the spirit of the Lord was working on his behalf through someone who responded to the call to pray. Had I not yielded to the Holy Spirit, I believe that He would have moved on the heart of another intercessor. I am so glad that I obeyed. Through this cooperative intercession between a willing believer and the Holy Spirit, the strategy of the enemy was exposed and thwarted.
My dad, Rev. A. H. “Buck” Griffin, lived several years after this experience, preaching and teaching the Good News of the Gospel into his late 80’s. At the age of 96 he moved to his eternal home where he shall forever be with the Lord.
Offering praises to the Father with your spirit and with you understanding will build you up on your most holy faith.
But you, beloved, build yourselves up [founded] on your most holy faith [make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], praying in the Holy Spirit; Guard and keep yourselves in the love of God; expect and patiently wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)—[which will bring you] unto life eternal.
(Excerpts from A Call to Prayer-Intercession in Action, Copyright © 2001 by Germaine Copeland)
Copyright © 2005 by Germaine Copeland
Germaine Copeland is the author of the best selling book series, Prayers That Avail Much. She has written scriptural prayers for the family. Read your Bible, pray and attend church where you can soak up the love and faith of God. You will receive emotional healing, experience spiritual growth and become more intimately acquainted with your Heavenly Father, and your relationships will grow stronger.