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Praying in the Spirit: How the Prayer Language Comes

Let me say, first, that it is impossible for a non-Christian to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Jesus said to His disciples, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17). The baptism in the Holy Spirit occurs within the context of salvation. If you are a Christian, you are all that you have to be to experience the baptism in the Spirit.

If you are not a Christian, you need to pause here and simply confess your belief in the Lordship of Jesus Christ. You may faithfully attend church, you may regularly give money to worthy causes, you may lead an exemplary moral life, you may even fast and pray and read the Bible, but if you have not sacrificially submitted your self to the will of Christ, you have not been made regenerate, that is, a Christian. This you must do. Stop and pray now. If you do not know what to pray, use the following prayer as a model:

Heavenly Father,
I know I’ve sinned. I need a Savior; I need Your Son, Jesus. He is the light of the world; He is the light that I need because I walk in darkness. Come into my life, Lord Jesus. I believe that You died on the cross and rose again to wash me clean of my sin. Come into my life and take control; I commit myself to You. Thank You for coming into my heart and saving me, Lord Jesus. In Your name I offer this prayer. Amen.

This prayer may sound simplistic to you—too easy to be true. That’s because Christ Jesus has taken all the complexity, all the work out of the salvation event. Once you begin studying the Scriptures you’ll discover more about God’s salvation; you’ll discover the magnitude of the cost of your salvation and the cosmic struggle. Even now, unfathomable powers of evil are working (and have been for millennia) to keep men and women, boys and girls from repeating with sincerity the above prayer. On the other hand, angels in heaven are rejoicing over those who have repented and entered into eternal life with God (Luke 15:10). Only a very foolish person would not give up what he cannot keep (the pleasures and wealth of this world) to get what he cannot lose (spiritual blessings, even eternal life). Some of you are not Christians and did not pray the above prayer; I urge you now to defy the forces that would turn you away from life with God and return immediately to that prayer of salvation and rejoice with the angels of heaven, now and forever!

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Category: Fall 2000, Spirit

About the Author: Robert W. Graves, M. A. (Literary Studies, Georgia State University), is the co-founder and president of The Foundation for Pentecostal Scholarship, Inc., a non-profit organization supporting Pentecostal scholarship through research grants. He is a Christian educator and a former faculty member of Southwestern Assemblies of God College in Waxahachie, Texas, and Kennesaw State University (adjunct). He edited and contributed to Strangers to Fire: When Tradition Trumps Scripture and is the author of Increasing Your Theological Vocabulary, Praying in the Spirit (1987 and Second Edition, 2017) and The Gospel According to Angels (Chosen Books, 1998).

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