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Praying in the Spirit: Some Marvelous Effects of Praying in the Spirit

The second chapter of the Praying in the Spirit Series.

Robert W. Graves wrote Praying in the Spirit (Chosen Books) in 1987, when it received great reviews from a number of Pentecostal/charismatic scholars and leaders including John Sherrill, Dr. Vinson Synan, Dr. Gordon Fee, Dr. William Menzies, Dr. Howard Ervin, Dr. Walter Martin, and Dr. Stanley Horton. It is the great privilege of the Pneuma Review to republish it here.

Most evangelicals believe that one always remembers the day he or she became a Christian. I remember the day very well. I was alone in a half‑completed apartment building off Interstate 1‑75 in Atlanta, Georgia. I was taking a lunch break from my summer job as a heating/air conditioning installer. The days preceding this found me asking serious questions about God, myself, and reality. The Sunday before, I had attended a Baptist church and picked up several tracts. Then as I read those tracts the weight of my sins became unbearable and I felt that I must return to the God of my childhood, the God my mother had so often entreated on my behalf, the God of my grandparents, the God who would deliver me from alcoholism and later deliver my father from alcoholism and lung cancer.

It is true that a person who becomes a Christian after childhood seldom forgets the day of his salvation; I believe it is equally true that he seldom forgets the day that he first expresses himself to God in a language of the heart. I happened to be at my mother‑in‑law’s house, and I had been reading Robert C. Frost’s Aglow with the Spirit. For many weeks I had sought God for a mighty enduement of power so that I might serve Him with greater effectiveness. That day I had found quiet room in the back of the house and (though many people say this figuratively) I literally did not put Frost’s book down until I had read it through.

In the backyard, separated from the house, was an old unused garage. I took the book and walked to the garage for a private time of prayer. In that old, musty garage with windows too dirty to see through, I lifted hands and heart to God and asked Jesus to baptize me in the Holy Spirit. Within seconds syllables joined in a way I had never learned were rolling off my lips, and I knew a joy I hoped would never cease. Of all the objects in that old garage, I remember only one, a large worn‑out wooden airplane propeller. I remember it well because it became a symbol of what was happening to me‑I was soaring with God in heavenly places!

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Category: Spirit, Spring 1999

About the Author: Robert W. Graves is the author of Increasing Your Theological Vocabulary, Praying in the Spirit (Chosen, 1987) and The Gospel According to Angels (Chosen Books, 1998). He is a Christian educator and a former faculty member of Southwestern Assemblies of God College in Waxahachie, Texas, and Kennesaw State University (adjunct). Graves currently heads a real estate consulting firm in Woodstock, Georgia. He 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 member of the Society for Pentecostal Studies.

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