By Jason T. Ingram
Find The Balance
A pastor years ago told me, “if you have the Word without the Spirit, you dry up – if you have the Spirit without the Word, you blow up - and if you have the Spirit and the Word, you grow up.” I believe this principal also applies to effective prayer as well. In my writings, when I mention the Word, I am talking about the Christian Holy Bible, and when I mention “the Spirit” I mean the Holy Spirit (especially when I use the big S which is popular to capitalize in reference to Deity) the spirit with the small “s” it typically describing the human spirit.
My partner and I were talking the other day about his experience about reading the Bible in the past and his frustrations with it. I asked him if he ever prayed for understanding or prayed the Bible out loud. His church never taught that, and for years he put his Bible down, nearly giving up on it. There are a lot of sincere Christians that have never been shown how to have an effective devotional life. Now, my partner loves to do our devotionals daily and if we miss one, he bugs me about it until we make it up. I have no super powers, I just show folks what has worked for me and I have happened to be around a lot of Christians over the years that get their prayers answered.
One thing I have noticed with those who have a powerful prayer life, is not only their knowledge of the Bible, but their ability to get “in the Spirit.” This Bible experience in found in the book of Revelation and is also seen in the lives of the Old Testament prophets, like Ezekiel, Daniel and Isaiah. This is a spiritual dimension (or realm) any true believer in Jesus can enter in to.
Pray what God wants for you to pray, and how to pray
On the practical side though, the spirit realm is not to be taken lightly and there is a deceptive side to it as well as the true supernatural workings of God. For the believer who is new to these things, there is a natural tendency to confuse the senses and emotions with the spirit. Another major hindrance to these experiences in the supernatural has to do with this gray matter between our ears, yes the brain. If our minds have meditated daily on the Word of God, being in the Spirit will be more accurate to have the ability to pray in the prophetic gifts. If our brains are not accustomed to spiritual things, and focused only on the natural, it is easy to get ideas that are not of God, and we could in fact be praying out of line.
Do not be caught in what the Bible calls to “pray amiss” that is found in the book of James and has been explained as asking God with the wrong motives, or even praying for the wrong things. So pray what God wants you to pray for and don’t stop praying until the Holy Spirit releases you or until you get your answer. Your answer could come sooner than you expect!
A final directive
When it comes to praying while in the Spirit realm, the Lord may indeed show you things, even about others. It is absolutely essential to recognize the following principal:
Are you to SAY or PRAY?
To say things that you see in the Spirit is in fact to “prophesy” about it. Saying something out of line, even if the message is true can cause the speaker to:
-Function out of their gift, and cross over into another ministry office that was meant for another
-Be lifted up in pride
-Cause damage to a hearer if it was not their place to hear
-Loose their ability to function (for a season) in the prophetic gifts out of disobedience
So realize that God can show you something and it could be to pray it out, not to say it out. Seek God for wisdom, and wait for an answer whether you should share what you see, and with whom to share it with. A practical rule of thumb is to keep a prayer journal, or simply write these impressions you get in prayer in your diary or personal journal. I think it is best to keep things to yourself if unsure, or share with an understanding pastor or trusted leader about your dilemma.
Praying God's Word – by Dr. Ed Dufresne
Germaine Copeland’s resources on prayer
Prayers That Avail Much (Vol. 1, 2 & 3)