Prayer (1)

Course: The Importance of Effective Prayer

Lesson 4


Lesson Title:  The Power of Prayer - Praying in the Spirit


Lesson Goal:  …that the student will understand that prayer must be led of the Holy Spirit and we must be aware of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.


Text:  Ephesians 6:18 ‘Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints’.


Theme: All prayer must be in the Holy Spirit


Introduction: We must pray in accordance with the moving of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 6:18 ‘Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit’. Jude 20, ‘Praying in the Holy Ghost’.

·        We must be led of the Holy Spirit because only the Holy Spirit knows the mind of God in a particular situation.

·        We must allow the Holy Spirit to pray through us because we are weak but He knows what to pray.


Introductory illustration:  Prayer without the Holy Spirit is like a car that has no power.

A motor car is more than the sum of its parts.

A car that will not start is a monstrosity.

The parts are all there, but something is missing. The parts must be fitted together in exactly the right way and nothing can be allowed to stop any part doing what it is meant to do.

Once all the parts are together and ready the engine needs oil, petrol or diesel, and usually water.

·        If there is no oil the engine will destroy itself.

·        If there is no petrol or diesel the car will not have power to move on its own.

·        If there is no water the engine will overheat.


The body of Christ is the same.

The parts (the body of Christ) must be in unity and functioning together in one accord. But the body of Christ is more than just individuals put together in unity.  When the Holy Spirit flows through the body then the power comes and the church begins to function correctly..


Prayer without the Holy Spirit is like a car that has no power.

The parts are all there and the car will move if it is pushed, but there is no life.


Many prayer meetings are like this.

Words are spoken but there is no power in the prayer.

We don’t just need more prayer meetings.

We need prayer meetings that are empowered by the Holy Spirit.



Main Points:

1. Effective Prayer must be led by the Holy Spirit.

·        …because all the Christian life should be under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:14, ‘For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God’.  The leaders of the assembly ‘ekklesia’ in Antioch were led by the Holy Spirit in sending Barnabas and Saul on their missionary journey.   Acts 13:2-4, ‘As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.’ 

Paul knew the leading of the Holy Spirit. Acts 16:6 Paul and Silas were ‘forbidden of the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia’. It was not the right time – being led of the Holy Spirit.


·        Story:  Being led of the Holy Spirit.

Charles Finney, Revivals, Lecture VI, paragraph 4.  See Handout.



2. The Holy Spirit enables us to know the mind and will of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 2:12, ‘Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.’

·        The Holy Spirit moves as He will.  1 Corinthians 12:11, ‘But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.’


·        We can know the will of the Lord through the Word of God and by not being conformed to way of the world, Romans 12:2.  His eternal plan and purpose has been revealed through the scriptures.  The Gospel will be preached in all nations then will the end come.  Matthew 24:14 ‘And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.’ We can pray for these things to be fulfilled in accordance with the Word of God.


·        We can know what God wills in a specific situation through the Holy Spirit. David enquired of the Lord – you shall not go up.  2 Samuel 5:23 ‘And when David enquired of the LORD, he said, You shall not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees.’  In the Old Testament the children of Israel enquired of the Lord by the Urim and Thummin.   Nehemiah 7:65, ‘And the Tirshatha (governor) said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim.’  We must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit to know what God intends to do at this time.


3. The Holy Spirit empowers us to pray,

·        The Holy Spirit helps our weaknesses. Romans 8:26-27, ‘Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.’  The Holy Spirit in us seeks to pray.


·        Praying in the Spirit requires meditation upon the Word of God, John 15:7.  The Holy Spirit can pray through us when we know that we are praying in accordance with the Word of God.


·        Prayer must be energised by the Holy Spirit.  The word effectual is the Greek word ‘energeo’ working - the working of the Holy Spirit.  James 5:16 ‘Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.’



Prayer in the church has been ineffectual because… 

1.      …we have neglected the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  All prayer must be led by the Holy Spirit or there will be no power in prayer. 

2.      …we have neglected the need to pray in accordance to the will of God.  We have presumed to know the will of God and prayed without knowing what the Spirit of God is saying.

3.      …we have not prayed by the energising power of the Holy Spirit.  Prayer has been a duty and the power of the Holy Spirit has been lost.  The end result is that prayer is seldom answered.