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Join date : 2010-09-30
Location : Cleveland, OH

Prayer Empty
PostSubject: Prayer   Prayer EmptyTue Jul 17, 2018 11:37 pm


Today we will study why prayer is essential to overcoming anxiety and whatever other trial or stronghold you may be going through. We will also tackle a few tough questions about prayer such as: How to pray better? How do we know that our prayers are actually getting through to God through? How do we pray? We will try to look at prayer somewhat exhaustively so that we make sure that we firm, viable understanding, but our theme today particularly is ‘How do we overcome through prayer?’

First let us define prayer. Although our theme today is about overcoming difficulties and strongholds through prayer, that is not essential to the definition of prayer. Prayer is simply our communication with God for the purpose of cultivating a personal and intimate relationship with Him. Biblical prayer has a goal. It is not about getting our needs met, it is about cultivating a personal and intimate relationship with God. God supplies our needs through the cultivated relationship. Communication is important in any relationship. God does not want us to pray because He needs to know what’s on our mind; He wants us to pray so that we demonstrate that we value Him highly in our hearts and trust in Him for our daily guidance. Prayer is not a one-way communication because God communicates back to us, and we will talk about the different ways that God communicates to us later in this study. Just like in any relationship, the relationship suffers when one party breaks down in communication. God wants us to take the initiative in communicating with Him and when we stop communicating, the relationship breaks down which affects the grace and power we receive and our fellowship standing with Him.

Simply by understanding that prayer is based on cultivating an intimate relationship with God will help us in understanding how to pray. Cultivating any good relationship requires selflessness and holding the other party in high esteem. Prayer should be sacrificial, not selfish. Pride is one of the sins God hates most and many Christians pray prideful prayers. They want their needs met without giving much thought to what God wants. If our prayers are littered with me-myself-and-I, we should reconsider how we pray. It helps in cultivating a good relationship to pamper the other person. We should start our prayers off with thanks and praise. It is not a requirement to start all of our prayers off like this. There is no required prescription given in the Bible on how to pray. Jesus does give us a basic outline, or a template on how to pray, but it is not intended to be a strict regimen because we see many prayers throughout the bible that do not follow strictly to that pattern including Jesus’ own prayers. We will look at Jesus’ prayer template in this study. God demands first place in everything—that includes prayer. Prayer should start with God. That is even in Jesus’ outline for prayer.

Accessing our Christian power, which includes grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, is tied to our relationship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Prayer cultivates our relationship with Him, thus it cultivates the power we receive from on high. The more intimate our relationship with Him is, the easier His grace flows to us. The Bible speaks about our prayers becoming hindered by sin. 1 Peter 3:7 says, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” This should make sense: that if prayer helps to cultivate an intimate relationship with God, and God hates sin, consequently, our prayers don’t get through to God when we are disobeying His Word. Just like in any relationship, when one party offends the other, the other person might sulk and stop talking to their husband or spouse altogether for a while. God stops responding back to us with His grace and power when we damage our relationship with Him by sinning. It doesn’t matter how much faith and Truth we are living by; if we are living rebelliously to Him, He shuts off His flow of grace to us.

The importance of prayer is not in what we can receive from God, but rather in how close we can get to Him on an intimate level. The end outcome of it all is that we will receive from God. Like any other relationship, each party should seek to please the other. The husband should seek to please his wife by giving, and so too the wife should seek to please her husband by giving. God promises to take up His end of the relationship by pampering us back with His love and blessings. God wants us to ask Him for things and for help. We should just make sure that our hearts are not attached to the stuff that we are asking for, but rather that our hearts are attached to the Person we are asking. Any good husband ought not mind his wife asking him for things. And a good husband should pamper his wife. But a wife can become a burden if she is always one-sided in wanting to receive and never concerned about what her husband needs (and vice-versa).

In this relationship, God wants us to ask Him to supply our all of our needs. He wants us to rely on Him for our sustenance rather than putting our trust and hope in the world. John 15:7 says, “If you [abide] in me and my words [abide] in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” “Abide” is in brackets because the NIV has the word “remain,” but the Greek word is really “abide.” It means to dwell or to hang out with. In close relationships people often hang out and dwell with each other. The same is true with our relationship with Jesus. Jesus wants us to dwell in Him and have His words dwell in us. When that relationship of dwelling is established, then He wants us to ask whatever we wish. When we learn to dwell closely with Him and have His words dwell in our hearts, what happens is that we learn to ask what is in accordance to His will—things that both He wants and we want to occur. The next verse is interesting. Jesus says, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” This verse qualifies the previous verse. The previous verse says that we can ask whatever we wish and it will be granted. Verse 8 says that verse 7 is to the Father’s glory that we bear much fruit, and showing ourselves to be Jesus’ disciples. We should abide close enough to Jesus so that we are able to ask what is in accordance to His will (things that we desire as well) for the purpose of giving glory to the Father and showing ourselves to be disciples of Christ Jesus. In other words, verse 8 disqualifies those who ask selfishly, not having in mind the Kingdom agenda. The purpose of us asking should be to bear fruit for the Kingdom and to grow in Christ.

Jesus gives us a template on how to pray. In Matthew 6:9, Jesus says, “This, then, is how you should pray: ...” First, please note that it says “how” and not “what.” Jesus is only giving us an outline of prayer, not a word for word regimen. He goes on, “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your Name...” So far, there is no me-myself-or-I here. He says begin your prayer with praise. He uses the word “Father” as opposed to “God.” “Father” indicates the relationship status that God has with His children. God is God over all of creation, but He is Father only to His own children. We have a personal relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ, and our prayers should reflect that relationship. “Hallowed be your Name” means to regard God’s Name as holy. In Jewish culture, the name reflects one’s character. God’s name reflects His holy and exalted righteous character. When we pray to God, we should respect who we are talking to. God is not someone to be taken lightly. His very name is hallowed, sanctified, and set apart as holy. We should come to Him in respect and awe. Our prayers should not be flippant or cursory. They should not be spoken as an afterthought or postponed for the end of the day when we can barely stay awake to pray. When we regard His Name with high esteem and awe then our prayers are more attentive and deliberate.

Jesus says in verse 10, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” We still didn’t get to a “me” verse yet. The “me” verse is the next verse. Proportionately, this is half of the prayer outline and what we have in the first half is all about giving God glory and praise. Praise is often the forgotten thespian in prayer. Since we know that God demands to be first in everything, “everything” includes our prayers. Many Christians (including myself) start many of their prayers off with the “me.” I’m trying to work on that. It is easy to do because we are so focused on our trials that it takes effort to catch ourselves and first give God His due praise. God is concerned first about His own Kingdom and agenda. He wants us to start thinking likewise. You and I are small parts of the Kingdom at large. God is concerned first about the collective whole over small individual islands. God’s Kingdom has to do with His agenda for all of His saved children and His agenda of establishing righteousness on this Earth just as it is in Heaven. God’s agenda has to do with establishing justice where there is injustice, Truth where there are lies, peace where there is chaos, righteousness where there is sin, life where there is death, etc. Now where is the “me-myself-and-I” in all of that?

We get to the me verse in verse 11, but it comes with a caveat. Jesus says in verse 11, “Give us today our daily bread.” Here we sort of have a me verse, but it is hidden deep within the words “us” and “our.” God never wants us to think about ourselves only. God is concerned about satisfying your needs, and He wants you to be concerned about satisfying your neighbor’s needs, especially your fellow saved brothers and sisters in Christ. God wants us to ask Him for our daily sustenance. Your next paycheck could be your last one for a while. He wants us to rely on Him for our daily bread, not on the world—not on your employer. Please note here that “daily bread” is a required need. We need food to live. God does not mind us asking for our wants and desires, but He wants us to prioritize needs over wants. In accordance with our theme for today, we need to be set free from anxiety, panic attacks, negativity and strongholds. Those fall under “daily bread” because those are needs. We cannot be productive for the Kingdom if we are suffering with panic attacks that freezes us up at important moments. Although that is a dire need, that still falls into the second half of the prayer outline. Jesus instructs that we should give God His due praise first before focusing on our needs.

Verse 12 says, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Jesus says that in praying for your needs, don’t skip your sins. We learned already that sin hinders our prayers from reaching God. We cannot ask for forgiveness if we have in mind to continue the same sin tomorrow. The word “repent” means to turn the other way. We cannot turn the other way and turn back again and consider ourselves having repented. If we want the power and grace to overcome our trials, we have to have our debts wiped away. The good news is that Jesus wipes away our debts continuously when we appeal to the Cross in true repentance. The Cross is always operating to forgive our daily sins. I’m going to skip down to verses 14-15, which say, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Part of wiping away our own debt of sins is to forgive the debts that others have incurred against us. If we do not forgive others, we are told that God will not forgive us. When we fail to forgive others of their sins against us, that puts us outside of God’s fellowship, and He blocks His grace and power that we need to overcome our strongholds. We should always forgive others of their sins against us because God through Christ has paid the price for our sin and saved us from an eternity in Hell.

And finally, verse 13 says, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one, for yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Jesus tells us to ask God for help in overcoming the evil one, that is, Satan. Don’t take Satan lightly and think that he is no threat to you because he is. We are in a spiritual war that our eyes don’t see. In fact, Satan is greatly behind the strongholds we battle. Anxiety, depression, negativity, and sinful addictions are all demonic at its root. Satan is the spiritual curator who seeks to guide people into temptation. God is not the one who leads us into temptation—Satan is. But we have to pray to God that we not be led into temptation by Satan. Satan is good at catching us off guard. But if we pray beforehand, God will empower us to be ready. In verse 12 we asked for a clean slate—we asked that our past sins be forgiven; in verse 13, we are to ask that we don’t sin in the future.

And finally, finally, Jesus ends His prayer template with praise. We started and ended our prayer with praise. He gives us this doxology example. He says, “For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” So our needs should not dominate our prayers. Jesus says in Matthew 6:8, “...for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” If God knows what we need, we shouldn’t act like He doesn’t. He not only knows what we need, He also has the power to overcome it. Proportionately, we should do more thanking and praise than dictating to Him our needs because that would exhibit great faith, as it would demonstrate that we trust Him to take care of our needs—and faith is what pleases God. There is great power in thanks. The bible says in Luke 9:16 that Jesus took the 5 loaves of barely and 2 fish and He gave thanks to God the Father. Just from giving thanks, the miracle happened and 5,000 men, not counting women and children ate. Jesus didn’t even ask the Father to multiply the food. The Father knew what Jesus needed before He asked Him. Jesus only gave thanks, knowing that God the Father knew what He needed. And that thanks initiated the miracle. So in seeking your healing from your stronghold, don’t forget to be thankful. Being thankful is an important part of your accessing your miracle.

Back-tracking just a little: we just saw that Jesus told us to pray that the evil one not lead us into temptation. As we identified, we are in a spiritual battle. A spiritual battle requires that we fight using spiritual warfare. Prayer is part of the spiritual armor given to the Christian by God of that is often overlooked. Paul lets us know that we are in a war in 2 Corinthians 10:3, which reads, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.” This world fights war through hatred, pride, and self-will. Paul says that none of that works in this battle we are in. Only the Christian is able to wage war at the root of the problem. The world battles only the effects that the root problem causes. The world battles the man. The Christian battles the heart of the man and the spiritual forces that influence it. Paul continues in verse 4, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

In order to fight this spiritual war, we have to know exactly what we are really fighting and the weapons we have at our disposal. Thankfully for us, Paul defines both in Ephesians 6. He defines the true root of the battle that we are in in Ephesians 6:12, saying, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” It sounds like we are fighting a lot of stuff here. He says that we are not fighting humans, but he goes on to say that we are fighting against (something) four times. It sounds like the four things are describing the same thing: that is demons. But the way Paul breaks it down is that he is breaking down the demon world itself. In a war, we should be fully aware of how our opposition works. Knowing how our opposition operates will help us to pray better. The demonic world has rulers, commanders, and hierarchy of authority. All demons do not have the same rank. The demonic world has superhuman powers and influences the world with its dark indoctrinations. This means that demons seek to hide the Truth from mankind and interject their own agenda so that mankind will adopt demonic ideologies as their truth. The demonic world is a spiritual force that operates in the heavenly realms. This means that we cannot see them with our eyes and it means that we cannot battle them using the flesh or any concrete, non-spiritual weapon. We should remember that our battle is not against people, but rather against these demonic powers that influence and deceive people.

Paul then lists the weapons of war that God has provided us to both fight against demonic forces and also to protect ourselves from them. Unfortunately, most bible preachers stop after the first 6 weapons that Paul gives us. They mention our belt of Truth, our breastplate of righteousness, our attentive shoes of peace, our shield of faith, our helmet of salvation, and our sword of the Spirit. But how are we able to communicate with our commander in chief without our spiritual walkie-talkie called prayer? Isn’t God’s number 7 and not 6? After the sword of the Spirit, Paul includes prayer as part of our spiritual armor. It is one of the weapons that we are to use against the demonic forces of evil. When demons refuse to listen to us, we have to remember that they always have to obey Jesus Christ whenever He commands them. The war that we fight is an invisible one, so we have to always be in direct contact with the Air Traffic Controller, God, who can see things from on high that we cannot see from our vantage point. Not only does God see what we cannot see, but He has all power to change and redirect what we don’t have power to do ourselves.

Paul says in Ephesians 6:18, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” There is an un-prayed prayer for every occasion that you come across and your job should be to turn it into a prayed prayer. We are told that there are many kinds of prayers and they can include our requests. So if all you pray are requests, and there exists many kinds of prayers then that means that your prayer regimen is lacking greatly. As we mentioned earlier, there is no strict regimen or prescribed script for prayer. If there were a strict regimen, we wouldn’t be able to pray many kinds of prayers, but would be limited to only one script. What does he mean by “all kinds of prayers”? There are short prayers and long prayers. There are prayers of forgiveness, praise, thanks, and supplication. David, on several occasions prays imprecatory prayers, where he prays for the death of his enemies. Jesus instructs us to pray for our enemies. (One good prayer for our enemies, by the way, is that they find Christ and change.) There are many kinds of prayers because there is a prayer for each occasion. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to pray without ceasing. So we are to pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers without ceasing. This does not mean that we are to pray 24 hours a day, 60 minutes/hour, and 60 seconds/minute. But it does mean that we are to not stop praying and to pray very often for the many occasions we face.

But moreover, for each prayer that we pray and for every instance, Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:18 to pray in the Spirit on all occasions. No prayer should be prayed outside of the Spirit. To pray in the Spirit means that we are connected to the Spirit and are praying in His realm. The Spirit is the Holy Spirit, who is the Third Person of the Trinity. The opposite of praying in the Spirit is praying in the flesh. To pray in the flesh means that you are connected to sin and not to God in His fellowship. Note that Paul says in the same verse to pray for all of the saints. To pray for oneself only without praying for others is selfishness, which is sin, and one cannot pray in the Spirit and sin at the same time. The Holy Spirit is very sensitive to sin. The bible describes Him as a dove. Pigeons don’t mind hanging out with humans in downtown, but doves are very sensitive and will fly off at the slightest sign of something wrong. One becomes filled with the Holy Spirit when one lives in accordance to the Holy Spirit. One loses that filling when one rebels against God’s Word. The Bible tells us how to live in accordance with the Holy Spirit. It mentions the fruit of the Spirit. If we keep in step with the Holy Spirit, we are pleasing to Him and thus connected and are able to pray in the Spirit and have our prayers heard. The Bible says in Galatians 5:22 that: “...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” We learn from this list that we have to be faithful and self-controlled. And wherever Jesus is glorified, there the Holy Spirit is also.

All of the spiritual weapons operate together. Prayer should be meshed with the other spiritual weapons. We should pray in Truth with faith. We should talk to God through His Truth and not through our opinion. That requires that we find out what God’s opinion is and lower our own pride. Our prayers should be faith-filled. When we pray to God, believe that He is able, just, a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, that He cares for us, and that He is all-powerful to fix your situation despite what your eyes are telling you. We know that sin obstructs our prayers, so we should be committed to a righteous lifestyle. The breast plate covers the heart for both the Roman soldier and the high priest. Our hearts should be right as we put on the breastplate of righteousness and pray. We should pray for peace and our readiness for attack against the evil one. Preempt Satan’s attack by being all prayed up in advance. Jesus tells His disciples in Luke 21:36, “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” Roman soldiers had metal spikes at the bottom of their shoes so when attacked by the enemy, they would not fall, but rather maintain their firm footing. Regarding the helmet of salvation: we should pray for the salvation of others and pray that we are saved from our daily trials and tribulations. The helmet guards the mind, and that is what Satan seeks to attack most. And we should pray according to the Word of God, which is our sword and the weapon that we fight Satan with. We know that the Sword of the Spirit is not the only weapon in our arsenal. Prayer is our other weapon because with it, we can call down air strikes from above onto our battlefield against the demonic realm.

James 5:13 says, “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray.” God wants us to take our troubles to Him. Too often, we first go to the telephone and divulge our troubles to our friends before we take it to God. James goes on to say that if you are not in trouble, praise God. Then he says in verse 14, “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.” Verse 15: “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.” We are called to not only pray for others, but to also go to others who can pray for us. If one is suffering from any stronghold, one should follow James’ instruction to overcome it. One should follow all of his instructions, which includes anointing with oil in the name of the Lord because when we follow God’s Word completely, that displays faith. James tells us in verse 15 to pray in faith, but if one’s denomination teaches that they don’t believe in anointing people with oil then that is displaying a lack of faith in the Word of God. In this passage, we see the power of prayer. James tells us that the prayer offered in faith will make the person well. God has the power to heal any condition. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were filled with faith as they stood before Nebuchadnezzar. They said in Daniel 3:17, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king.” They have much faith that God will rescue them from death, but they still gave God His sovereign right to go about things a different way. Maybe God does want to call them home through Nebuchadnezzar’s fire. God always has His sovereign right to go about things His way regardless of our prayers, but such thinking, or rather understanding is not a lack of faith. Our faith must lie in Daniel 3:17 and at the same time, our understanding of God needs to lie in Daniel 3:18, which says, “But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” We have to keep the faith that “the prayer offered in faith will heal you.” But we have to understand that God is Sovereign and might have other plans for us. Even in God’s sovereignty, all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose. As long as there is breath in us we should keep the same faith as that persistent widow in Jesus’ parables that we will be healed. Or we should believe we will be healed until we hear a clear “No” from God. Sometimes God’s answer to our prayer is no. It remains His sovereign choice. He always knows what is best for us.

We should pray with great humility. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will 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.” Prayer is needed for the state of our nation. Our land needs healing today. Many Christian individuals that make up our land need healing—when the individuals get healed, the land gets healed. Only God’s people can reach God through prayer and only God’s people can make a difference on the outcome of the nation. There is a direct correlation between the state of our nation today and this verse. Christians have acquiesced the state of our nation to the world. We have allowed the wicked to write our laws and let them go unchallenged. It does not have to be that way. God wants His kingdom established on this Earth, and not Satan’s kingdom to have the greater impression. Christians are not doing their job if they are just worshipping in Church on Sundays. We are to pray and go out in faith and take action against the dark forces. We are not to pray, sit back and hope that God changes the corrupted government establishment for us. This is what most Christians have been doing, and it hasn’t worked and doesn’t work to change anything. Please note that our land will be healed if we change, not if the world changes. Don’t expect the world to change. They are doing their job perfectly. Sinners sin. It is the righteous that God is calling to be righteous, and when that happens, then God will heal the land. We see from this verse that humility and prayer go together. Turning from our wicked ways must accompany prayer.

One question we raised in the beginning is “How can we be sure that God hears our prayers?” Or stated otherwise, “How do we know that our prayers are getting through to Him?” This requires faith. When we pray, we need to have faith that God is attentive to our prayer. We know that God hears us because the Bible says that He does. 1 John 5:14-15 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.” The “confidence” part is faith. Please note that He hears us if it is in accordance to His will. If it is in accordance to our will, and our will disagrees with His will, then God will not respond to that request. So whatever we ask must be in accordance to His will. And if it is in accordance to His will, then John says that we already “have what we asked of Him.” Please note that John puts the having in past tense. Once we request what is according to His will, we received it already. This is no different than Ephesians 1:3 that says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us (past tense) in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Our issue is that our blessing is located in the heavenly realms and we have to access it by faith. It’s in our bank account; we just have to withdraw it by faith. To be free from anxiety and depression is the will of God. Galatians 5:1a says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Since it is according to the will of God that we be set free from our strongholds, then we already have what we asked of Him and we need only to go out with faith and convince our feet that we have it. We have to train the flesh to operate in Truth. If we continue to hide, we are not accessing what we have through faith. We have to go out and experience our blessing by receiving it with faith.

But always keep in mind that sin might be the reason that God is not hearing your or my prayers. Even if we pray according to His will, if we are living sinfully, He will not respond to our prayers. We have to be sure to first repent if we want God to hear us. 1 John 3:21-22 mentions some prerequisites of asking God what we want. It says, “Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him.” It says that we have to obey him to receive. God gives what we ask as a reward for our obedience to Him.

And lastly, we wanted to cover the different ways that God communicates back to us when we pray to Him. Prayer is not a one-way conversation, though many times it may feel that way. God does not have to respond right away. We see many times in the Bible where God delays His response to prayer. Often when God delays His response it is because He first wants to see us operating in faith—for without faith, it is impossible to please Him. Unless God is performing a personal miracle, God is not going to respond verbally. He does talk to our hearts and through signs that let us know that He has responded. When God speaks through signs, He makes it obvious. I have lots of examples through personal experiences and I’ve heard examples from the testimony of others. It could be that the day after you pray, you turn the radio on and the moment you turn it on, a preacher says the answer to your prayer. This is just one example. God speaks in many creative ways by intervening from the spiritual world to our physical world. God can speak through dreams, miracles, by sending messengers (people or angels)—the Bible says that we sometimes entertain angels without knowing it. God can even speak to your own mind where you hear a voice (just be sure that it His voice by verifying that it agrees with Truth, and that it is not a whisper from Satan who also talks to our minds). Or God can speak silently to our hearts. 2 Corinthians 11:3 says, “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” This verse says “just as.” How was Eve deceived by the serpent, Satan? Satan spoke to Eve’s mind. Paul here is basically telling us that Satan speaks today to our minds just as he spoke to Eve’s mind many ages ago. So we have to test the spirits at all times to be sure to identify the source of the voice we hear in our minds. It is either from God, from Satan, or from you.

Just real quickly as a quick side note, if you are one who prays in tongues, please make sure that you know that you have the gift of praying in tongues because the Bible clearly says that not everyone has the gift to pray in tongues. In 1 Corinthians 12:30, Paul says, “Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?” These are rhetorical questions meaning that all have not been given the gift to speak in tongues or to heal or to interpret. Matthew 6:7 is interesting. Jesus says in that verse, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” People without the gift of praying in tongues but attempt it are basically babbling, with the same mindset that the pagans have when they attempt to invoke their false gods. Jesus is saying that when you pray, speak intelligibly. The next verse says, “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Jesus says that there is no need to invoke God with unintelligible words. When the people spoke in tongues in Acts, they didn’t try to speak in tongues. They didn’t even know what speaking in tongues was about when they simply opened their mouths, God took over and caused them to speak in tongues. And please note also in Acts, that even though people spoke in tongues, there were those who understood them, each in their own language. I am not saying that no one should speak in tongues. Speaking in tongues is a real gift and it has its place and significance. The Bible says that speaking in tongues edifies the one who speaks it, so it is a good thing if one has the ability to do it. Please refer to my post regarding speaking in tongues. Paul says to not bring it into the Church unless there is an accompanying tongue interpreter, one with the gift of interpretation, because otherwise, speaking in tongues benefits only the one speaking it—it does not edify the listeners if they don’t understand it (1 Corinthians 14:28 ).

With that said, we now have a clearer understanding of Romans 8:26, which says, “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.” Or, as the KJV puts it: “...with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Some use this verse to argue that all can speak in tongues. But it is not us doing the unintelligible groaning here, it is the Holy Spirit doing it. This verse is actually saying that we are incapable of speaking the necessary groaning, as it “cannot be uttered.” Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is capable of speaking for us what we lack in our prayers, but we have to give Him something to work with. The Holy Spirit is only going to intercede for us: He is not going to say the entire prayer for us. The reason why we do not know how to pray as we should is because we cannot see the invisible. Our eyes cannot see Satan when he is standing right next to us trying to get us to fall. We also don’t know how to pray as we should because we are not on God’s level. But I can tell you Someone who is on God’s level: the Holy Spirit who is willing to intercede for our prayers and fill in the missing details that we didn’t know that we should include. We covered in this lesson that we have to pray in the Spirit at all times, and that sin takes us outside of the Spirit’s fellowship and presence, and disallows our prayers to get through. In order for Him to intercede on our behalf, we have to be in the Spirit when we pray. That means our hearts and lifestyle must agree with the Spirit. The fastest way to get in fellowship with the Spirit is to repent and glorify Jesus. It is empowering to know that we have been given a spiritual walkie-talkie as part of our spiritual warfare, and all we have to do is to give an honest attempt at praying and God will cover our shortcomings and turn that prayer into a full, complete prayer. Therefore, rejoice always, and pray continually! I close with Hebrews 4:16, which says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
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