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Praying in the Spirit

On this page we explore the benefits of praying in the Spirit - what it is, together with various bible references to this type of prayer. Also featured here are short articles on "praying in tongues", "singing in the Spirit" and a prayer to the Holy Spirit.

How to Pray in the Spirit

1. Be led by God as you pray:-
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God. For you didn’t receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Rom 8:14-15 (WEB)

If we are led by the Spirit of God, God will lead us naturally to pray, amongst many other things in life - for example - the work we do or where we travel to. Paul was led by the spirit to go to Jerusalem and Rome:-
Now after these things had ended, Paul determined in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome."

(Acts 19:21 NHEB)

We also know that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11)

2. Pray with power:-
Jesus promised that the disciples would "receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon" them. (Acts 1:8 NLT) When we pray in the Spirit we are being moved by Him. Where we are naturally weak, God is strong and able to help us as we pray (Rom 8:26). Here is a song for inviting God's power to come upon you as you pray:-

Come, O Spirit of God

3. There may or may not be language involved:-
Whilst Paul makes it clear that if we are led by the Spirit, we can cry "Abba! Father", (e.g. words) he also observes that the Spirit will led us in prayer "with groanings to deep for words" (Rom 8:26 ESV)

4. All prayer is to be Spirit led (Eph 6:18):-
It's not just about "speaking in tongues" (Acts 2:4), although this may be a part of it. All prayer - both for yourself and others in intercession, is to be guided by the Spirit. Otherwise we risk falling into meaningless babble or ritual - something that Jesus was careful to warn us against (Matthew 6:7)

Short Prayers

To help you as you pray in the Spirit:-

Prayer to the Holy Spirit for Guidance

Holy Spirit, Come!
Dwell in my heart.
Illuminate my mind.
Direct my footsteps.
Be my guide.


(a prayer to be guided by the Holy Spirit from www.lords-prayer-words.com)

Prayer to the Holy Spirit
(A traditional Catholic prayer)

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations,
Through Christ Our Lord,


Singing In The Spirit

This is a practise similar in nature to "praying in spirit", in that it is the Spirit of God that leads the believer in prayer and worship. A period of "singing in the spirit" in corporate worship usually involves spontanous and improvised singing in tongues and/or singing in the native language of the believer. It frequently centres around one musical chord that it held for a long period, forming a "drone" on which the singing takes place. The resultant sound can at times form a very beautiful cacophony.

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Dance as though no one is watching you. Love as though you have never been hurt before. Sing as though no one can hear you. Live as though heaven is on earth.


What is "speaking in tongues"?
It is estimated that possibly as many as 600 million Christians alive today "Speak in Tongues" - a practise very popular within evangelical charasmatic churches, although it is also practised to varying degrees across many denominations, including the Anglican and Catholic traditions. (The phenomena of "Speaking in Tongues" is also known as "Glossolalia")

It is a gift from God
"Speaking in Tongues" is as gift of the Holy Spirit and is referred to by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:10 alongside other gifts such as prophecy, words of wisdom and knowledge, healing, miracles, interpretation of tongues, great faith and spiritual discernment.

Is it another language?
In practical terms, speaking in tongues involves the believer speaking in a language unknown to them. This may be an earthly one or the language of angels. (Paul says "though I speak in the tongues of men or angels" (1 Cor 13:1)
When the Holy Spirit came on the disciples at Pentecost, they were enabled to speak supernaturally in other earthly languages so that Jews that had travelled from other parts of the world for the festival were able to understand them (Acts 2:5)

A sign to unbelievers
It's also a sign to unbelievers that God is present (1 Corinthians 14:22) "For this reason tongues are for a sign, not to those who have faith, but to those who have not" (BBE)

Care with the gift
Care needs to be taken when the gift of tongues is used publicly. There should always be an interpretation of Glossolalia, so that everybody who is present can understand what God is saying (1 Cor 14:9-13)

Prayer in the Spirit
Speaking in tongues involves the engagement of a believers spirit with God's Spirit. Paul distinguishes between praying in the spirit (and in tongues) and praying with the mind. "if I pray in this way (in tongues), my spirit prays indeed, but my mind has no part in it". (1 Cor 14:14, GNT)

Bible verses about praying in the Spirit

Below are featured some useful scriptures related to praying in the Spirit. They may be useful as readings to inspire you and for further bible study on this subject.

The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness:-

In the same way, the Spirit also helps our weaknesses, for we do not know how to pray as we ought. But the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. He who searches the hearts knows what is on the Spirit's mind, because he makes intercession for the saints according to God.

Romans 8:26-27, (NHEB)

Praying with the Spirit and understanding:-

What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

1 Corinthians 14:15, (NHEB)

Take a moment to hear from God...

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