I read my last post again yesterday (Praying Jesus’ Prayer for the Sick), and I realized that I didn’t go into any detail about a pretty important aspect of praying what Jesus prays. I touched on it only briefly when explaining why I usually reflexively pray for healing: “Because I value comfort and safety above whatever move the Spirit is making in that person’s life.” The move of the Spirit is the key here. God’s purpose undergirds every event in my life, including times of injury and illness. When I join Jesus, praying what He gives me to pray, I am then in the flow of the Spirit and the will and purpose of God. That’s where I really want to be!
The Spirit Calls Us to Pray in the Heavens
However, God has listened; He has paid attention to the sound of my prayer. May God be praised! He has not turned away my prayer or turned His faithful love from me.
Psalm 66:19-20 HCSB
When the Holy Spirit was unfolding all of this in my heart, He didn’t condemn me for my prayers. It wasn’t even a chastening really (or at least it didn’t feel like it!). He simply called me higher. My prayers were heartfelt but earthbound. The Holy Spirit called me to heavenly prayer instead.
Martha talks about living in the heavens, as do so many of the great lovers of God that I’ve read. But I honestly wasn’t really sure what that even entailed. I’m still pretty fuzzy on it, but this felt like a breakthrough in understanding. I can live in the heavens, praying what Jesus Christ gives me to pray and following the Spirit in victory, or I can stay on the ground and live ignorant of God’s will by choice. However heartfelt my earthbound prayers might be, they are spiritually immature. And that isn’t the worst thing ever or even sinful necessarily. A new believer will spend some time being spiritually immature as a matter of course. But the Holy Spirit is moving, always moving. And if I am following the Spirit, He will do what is necessary to bring me to spiritual maturity – like teaching me to pray in a heavenly way.
Pray in the Spirit at ALL Times
I often believe that I have to move/pray/do right now. Satan constantly tells me that there just isn’t time to wait for God to speak to me. Lie! There is always time to wait on the Keeper of Time Himself. What if praying God’s will for someone I love ends up shortening their suffering? Isn’t that worth the wait?
Not every turn or pivot in this life is the result of chastening for sin (I need the Holy Spirit to remind me of that often!). Sometimes the Spirit simply graduates us to a new place of responsibility – and privilege. It is a true privilege to be a vessel for Christ’s love AND intercession for another person. It’s a new chapter in my adventure with Jesus and it’s thrilling!
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Ephesians 6:18 NLT