Today's Foundations Devotionals: Spirit-empowered prayer: The Holy Spirit helps in our weaknesses

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Memory verse:

… in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of

promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of

the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

(Ephesians 1:13b-14)

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A fourth main purpose of the baptism in the Holy Spirit concerns the prayer life of the believer.

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. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Rom. 8:26-27).

Paul mentions one form of weakness which is common to all believers in their own natural condition and apart from the Holy Spirit.

It is defined by Paul in the words “for we do not know what we should pray for as we ought.” This weakness is not knowing how to pray in accordance with God’s will.

The only One to whom we can turn for help in this weakness is the Holy Spirit, for Paul says:

The Spirit also helps in our weaknesses ... the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us ... because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Rom. 8:26-27).

Paul here speaks of the Spirit as a Person who indwells the believer and who makes the believer a vessel, or a channel, through which He offers prayer and intercession.

This is prayer of a kind which is far above the level of the believer’s own natural understanding or ability.

In this kind of prayer the believer does not rely on his feelings or his understanding.

He yields his body to the Holy Spirit as a temple in which the Spirit Himself conducts prayer, and he yields his members as instruments which the Spirit controls for purposes of supernatural intercession.

Concerning prayer, the New Testament sets a standard to which the believer can never attain in his own natural strength or understanding.

In this way God deliberately shuts the believer up in a place where he is obliged either to fall below the divine standard or else to depend upon the supernatural assistance of the indwelling Spirit.

For example, Paul says:

... praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit (Eph. 6:18).

And again:

Pray without ceasing ... Do not quench the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:17,19).

No person in his own unaided strength or understanding can fulfil these commandments.

No person can “pray always” or “pray without ceasing.”

But that which is impossible in the natural is made possible by the indwelling, supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit.

For this reason, Paul is careful to emphasise the believer’s dependence upon the Holy Spirit.

He says, “Praying always ... in the Spirit,” and again, “Pray without ceasing ... Do not quench the Spirit.”

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Prayer:

Lord, how I long for my prayer to become a real expression of what Your

Holy Spirit wants to pray through me. After all, if You pray through me

and my tongue is an instrument for Your Spirit, then I pray by extension

of Your will, so it will be most effective in the spiritual world Thank You

for helping me! Amen!

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