The Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, is not only enthroned in heaven; He has been sent by Jesus (John 16:7) and the Father (John 14:26) to indwell the believer (John 14:17). Thus, our inner nature as believers become a temple of God through the indwelling Holy Spirit (12 Cor. 3:16-17). What does the Holy Spirit do for us as He indwells us? He sanctifies (2 Thess. 2:13), empowers (Acts 1:8), guides (John 16:13), witnesses through us (1 John 5:8; Acts 1:8), and helps us pray (Rom. 8:26).
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of prayer. He prays directly, speaking with the Father and the Son. He also prays indirectly, praying through us, believers. It is the nature of God the Son and God the Spirit to pray. They ever live to pray. Just as God has ordained that we join Christ in intercession for His will to be done on earth, so He has ordained that the Holy Spirit should enable, guide, and empower our intercession.
To put it in another way: God the Son is our enthroned Prayer Partner and God the Spirit is our indwelling Prayer Partner. To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be filled with the Spirit of intercession. When the Holy Spirit fills, prayer becomes your very spiritual breath. The Holy Spirit loves to do within us that for which He indwells us—to accomplish God’s will on earth. God has ordained that the prayer of the believer is one of the major ways He accomplishes His will, so the Holy Spirit desires to make intercession a major expression of our spiritual life.
The Holy Spirit Enables and Transforms Our Prayer
- The Holy Spirit increases our desire to pray.
Just as it is natural for a child to talk to his/her father, so it is natural for the believer to pray to the heavenly Father. Though a child must learn to talk, a new believer can pray as soon as he/she is born of the Spirit, born again. The Holy Spirit is present from the moment of spiritual birth to encourage and increase the desire to pray. It is a sign of spiritual malady for any Christian to lack this desire. A carnal believer finds many excuses to neglect prayer, for Satan is always ready to try to rob us of our communion with God, the Source of power. However, a believer, who is Spirit-filled, can expect the Holy Spirit, the indwelling Prayer Enabler, to draw him/her to prayer.
- The Holy Spirit brings Scripture to our memory as we pray.
One of the ministries of the Holy Spirit, as our Prayer Partner is to bring to mind things of spiritual importance. He delights to remind us of verses of Scripture, for Scripture is the sword, which enables us to stand against the evil powers of this world (Eph. 6:17). He reminds us of Scripture verses filled with praise, so we can quote them in our prayers. He reminds us of Scripture promises to strengthen our faith.
Memorizing Scripture—hiding it in our hearts—will enable us to incorporate God’s Word into our spiritual life (Psalm 119:11). Memorize some of the praise Psalms, the doxologies of the New Testament, and some of the verses of prayer and promise. These can be used repeatedly, for you and I will find that they express the deep desires and the deep joys of the heart. What a blessing to use God’s own words as your prayer!
- The Holy Spirit brings spiritual goals to our attention.
The Holy Spirit loves to place before us the image of Jesus and to deepen our desire to be more like Him as we read about Him in the Word of God, realizing that we fall short of Christ-likeness. The Holy Spirit also likes to hold before us Bible characters, outstanding godly people whom we have met or known. Using their examples, the Spirit helps us set spiritual goals for spiritual growth. There are many passages of the Bible, which the Spirit can use in this aspect of His ministry. Therefore, it is very important to spend time reading God’s Word systematically day by day. The Spirit also will bring goals to our attention as we pray for our church, missionaries, our nation, and indeed our world.
- The Holy Spirit brings needs to our attention.
The Holy Spirit can give us eyes to see what others may fail to see. He can help us discern when people are discouraged, sad, or defeated. He can point out to us spiritual neglect, the need for revival, for new vision, and greater obedience. He can inspire us to pray for the growth of the church, for our youth, and for especially used servants of God.
His bringing of needs to our attention is His call to us to pray. Satan does not object to our recognizing the needs, but he wants us to criticize and ridicule. The Holy Spirit, as our indwelling Prayer Partner, wants to make us prayerful, not critical. Satan wants us to talk about people and their needs; The Holy Spirit wants us to intercede in prayer for them.
At times, we should share these concerns with others in order to join in prayer about them—widespread concerns of our community, our nation and leaders, and our world. The tremendous need for the advance and spread of the gospel calls us to unite in prayer for maximum prayer power. The Holy Spirit is always ready to assist us at such times, and Christ promises that He will be present with us (John 14:16).
- The Holy Spirit places prayer burdens upon us.
The sin, indifference, and the wickedness of our world pains or grieves the heart of God. Our loving Savior and the tender Holy Spirit plead in interceding for the broken lives, broken homes, and the tragedies of sin and injustice throughout the world. They long for us to join them in daily intercession for the hurting, the broken, the lost, and those being destroyed by sin. God the Father wants someone to intercede for everyone in need. God hears the cry of the orphan, the sob of the broken-hearted, and the angry words of the violent, and the screams of their victims. God feels the woes of the prisoners and the refugees, and the hunger pangs of those starving for food. The sorrow of those who mourn, the helplessness and hopelessness of those chained by the habits of sin touches the heart of God. God understands the spiritual darkness and vague but deep dissatisfaction of those who have never received the gospel.
Surely, Jesus weeps over our cities as He wept over the city of Jerusalem, for His heart is the same yesterday, today, and forever Heb. 13:8). He loves with the deepest longing every atheist, communist, or terrorist. He cherishes every human being, no matter how sinful he/she is.
It is the special role of the Holy Spirit to give us a prayer burden for all these needs and all these needy ones. God wants to express His longing love through us as we pray. The Holy Spirit wants to call us to weep with those who weep (Rom. 12:15). Our weeping is usually not in public but in our secret place of intercession (Jer. 13:17).
- The Holy Spirit will call us to prayer at crisis moments.
There are crisis moments in the lives of all people—moments of danger, moments of decision, and moments of special opportunity. There are times when the Holy Spirit is convicting someone of sin (John 16:8), and He may call us to pray during that special crisis. There are times of illness or special discouragement when the Spirit may select us to bear a special prayer burden for someone. We must learn to be very sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit will add special depth, power, and faith to our prayer.
He will not only direct us to pray for special needs, but He will also guide us in how to pray for them, will strengthen our faith as we pray, and will anoint and empower our praying. In addition, as our Prayer Partner, He will join us in praying and interceding at a depth not possible to us alone (Rom. 8:26-27).
The Apostle Paul says that the Spirit’s prayer transcends any possible prayer on our part. This is not so much His intercession through you, but beyond that, it is His intercession for you (v. 27). He intercedes for us and for those for whom we intercede. He has led us to share His heart-cry, His burden, and His love. Nevertheless, He does not leave us to pray alone. He joins us as our loving Prayer Partner, adding infinite understanding, desire, and power.
- The Holy Spirit wants us to have a worldwide prayer ministry.
The Holy Spirit, our indwelling Prayer Partner, longs for us to share His heartbeat for the whole world. Since He is the Creator God, He loves all His creation equally.
About a third of half of the world’s population has never heard the name of Jesus Christ; or if they have heard it mentioned, they have not heard enough about Him to enable them to make an intelligent decision to receive Christ. These people live in a kind of poverty not often recognized or publicized. It is a poverty of intercessory prayer, for the intercessors of these pagan nations are few. Who will pray for them? Who will pray for the outcast, the atheist, the communist, and the terrorist—if not Christians in our world?
- The Holy Spirit may call us to fast.
From time to time, the Holy Spirit will call us to add fasting to our prayer. There are different forms of fasting. I have preached on these not long ago.
- The Holy Spirit wants to multiply our eternal reward.
Christ will greatly reward believers who engaged in faithful intercession. Far more depends on the faithful exercise of prayer than most Christians realize. Significant prayer battles are being fought repeatedly. We are in danger of missing the greatest opportunities of our Christian life. Christ and the Holy Spirit longs for us to be their effective prayer partners. They need our intercessory help. Do not miss the intercessor’s crown God has waiting for you!