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Praying in the Spirit: How the Prayer Language Comes


Are You Ready for the Spirit’s Release?

If you desire the baptism in the Holy Spirit but have been taught against it all of your Christian life, the time to test its validity has come. You will not receive this gift by learning more theology; in fact, you may have to shed yourself of years of erroneous theology before you are free to believe and thus receive. If you sincerely want this experience so that you might draw closer to the Lord and become more like Him, there is no reason to further delay.

What must you do? James tells us that we have not because we ask not (4:2). Other Scriptures indicate that the baptism in the Spirit comes in a context of prayer (Acts 1:14; 4:31; 8:15; 9:11, 17; 10:30). It was several years after Pentecost that Luke recorded Jesus’ assuring words that the Christian who asks (that is, prays) for the Holy Spirit will be given Him (Luke 11:13). In this same context, Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). You must ask (pray) for the Holy Spirit.

Jesus stands ready to baptize you in the Holy Spirit.

If you are a Christian and you believe that Jesus stands ready to baptize you in the Holy Spirit, a privilege given to Him by the Father (John 1:32-34; Acts 2:33), and if you have asked this of the Father with anticipation and expectancy, God has fulfilled His part in your baptism. It is now up to you to allow the release of the Spirit. You must give Him your mind, your will, your emotions. You must sacrificially yield the members of your body to Him, not the least of which is your tongue, the most difficult member to tame, according to the Scriptures (James 3:3-12).

It is important that you understand that the Holy Spirit is not going to forcibly take control of your lungs, vocal chords, and tongue and make you speak. It is you who must speak forth the syllables that He places on your lips; it is you who must use your lungs to set your vocal chords in motion; it is you who must move your lips and tongue to speak forth the language of your spirit in concert with the Holy Spirit. The temple of your body is the matrix for your spirit and the Holy Spirit. As a resident within you since the salvation encounter and as a co-worker with your spirit, the Holy Spirit imparts divine meaningfulness to your speech, which would otherwise be gibberish.

Lift up your voice unto God. Begin worshiping Him for who He is and what He has done. If you understand what you are saying, that is, if you are speaking your native, learned language, stop! It is impossible to speak two languages simultaneously. Stop speaking in your native tongue and begin speaking syllables that the Spirit is impressing upon you. Remember, His presence within you gives those syllables meaning.

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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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