1. What is Holy Spirit led prayer?
- It is personal time with the Ruler of the Universe.
Prayer is more than just conversation. It is conversation with the one who created and controls the universe. Yet God allows his followers be so personal that we can know him as Daddy (“Abba”). While we have a reverent fear and awe of God (the knowledge that God is the ultimate power and authority), he in a sense allows us to snuggle into his lap and join our hearts with his to pray.
Rom 8:15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba”, Father.
Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Heb 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Ezek 22:30 I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.
- It is conversation with the Father through the Holy Spirit who resides inside of us.
Prayer differs from regular conversation in another way: our interactions actually take place with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God helps us in our weaknesses to know what to pray as we talk to God.
Jn 4:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.
Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
- It is 2 way conversation.
Spirit led prayer involves 2 way conversation. Just as we would quickly weary of a friend who talked nonstop and never listened, prayer is meant to be talking plus listening. As we move higher and deeper into Spirit led prayer, it grows constantly in the listening component.
Jn 14:16 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
- It is more than bringing our plans and asking God to bless them.
Although we can dump every concern, need, heartache, and even our hopes on the lap of God, he is still actually God. We do not direct him by telling him what to do, rather, we ask him to align our hearts with his heart so that we become part of his plans. We ask him to put his plans upon our hearts. We may move ahead in faith as we follow Biblical principles without a clear answer from God, but never should we make important decisions without asking for God’s heart on an issue.
The principle of seeking God’s heart is modeled in the Lord’s prayer. The focus is first on God and the needs of his heart. Only then do we present our needs to God. Indeed the acronym of ACTS (adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication) is based on the model of the Lord’s prayer, with us placing our needs at the very end.
Mt 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Rom 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
Rom 8:27 And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
2. What is the scriptural basis for Spirit led prayer?
There are many scriptures about this. The Bible as a whole seems to be about individuals gaining spiritual eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to absorb and obey the will of God. Here are a few scriptures:
1 Jn 5: 14-15 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God.
James 4:2b-3 You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
3. How do I move into Holy Spirit led prayer?
- It is a process.
As with many things in our walk towards God, this becomes better with practice. It is wonderful to practice this in community. God usually gives two or three witnesses to confirm his nudges, so Spirit led prayer is especially safe in that context.
Rom 12:12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer
Jn 8:17 Your own law says that if two people agree about something, their witness is accepted as fact.
- Start with the Bible.
God expects us to listen to what he has already said in his Word. Anything we hear in our listening prayer should match up with the principles of the Bible. Knowing these principles is necessary for survival. Through our study of the Bible, God may highlight a teaching, a chapter, or even a specific verse that speaks right to us.
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
- Be humble.
Repent when needed, even on the small stuff. Stick a pin into any pride that starts to puff up self for any reason (Ask God to help with this.). The Holy Spirit loves a humble and contrite heart.
Ps 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
- Constantly seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance; like using the GPS device in your car.
Let him direct your life. It works much better when we invite the Holy Spirit to give us guidance as we navigate through life.
Prov 19:21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
- Be agenda neutral.
It is a safer mode of operation to go to God in a neutral frame of mind. If we have an agenda, it is better to pray to ask God to bring us to a place of joy in accepting God’s plans. There are many examples in the Bible of God giving someone the desires of their hearts, even if it is not the best choice. (Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20 for one) We want to pray until we are willing to accept God’s best for us, instead of asking for our natural inclinations.
Jer 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
- Be thankful.
A thankful spirit in us fans the fire of our relationship with the Holy Spirit. Ingratitude quenches it, just as it does with any close relationship.
Col 3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
- Have times of stillness.
It is difficult to hear when our lives are full of noise or constant activity. Did Christ have a crazy, frenetic life? Simplify, simplify! God expects us to clear space on our plates so that we have time with him.
Ps 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.
- Hang out with God
How can you get to know someone if you do not spend time with them? In a marriage, we often know each other so well that we can finish each other’s sentences. We come to know each other’s hearts. Relationships like this only come through lots of together time.
May our whole lives become prayer walks. “ What now Lord?” “Lord, help in this situation.” “Please help this person.” “Shine your light here.” Or, that most holy prayer — “Help!” Flash prayers invite the Holy Spirit more deeply into your life.
1 Thes 5:17 pray without ceasing
Mt 6:6 (Message) Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
- Be absorbed in God.
Time with God is a joy, not a duty. Spending time communicating with God is a gift. It is a goal in itself, not a means to get what we want.
Neh 8:10 for the Joy of the Lord is your strength.
- Expect confirmation of what you hear.
The Bible shows repeatedly that two or three witnesses are expected to corroborate truth. We should be given a confirmation of Holy Spirit nudges and directions. This does not mean we should not instantly obey when that is what is necessary. It means that God can corroborate, when needed, so there is no doubt.
2 Cor 13:1 In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
- Be victorious.
God has shown us who the winner is in this life. He is! When we seek and then pray the heart of God, we can have confidence. No matter how it looks in the immediate, the victory is God’s.
4. What is the goal of Spirit led prayer?
- To conform to Christ
It is not possible to make ourselves be like Christ by studying and imitating him. This amazing transformation is the duty of the Holy Spirit. Our part is to trust, listen to and obey him.
As we do this, the Holy Spirit transforms us to look more like Jesus. This may be a slow and frustrating process, with the fastest growth often taking place in the times of the most pain.
Spirit led prayer is a big part of this transformation process. Without the Bible and the communication with the Holy Spirit, we are flying blindly. We do not need to — the map and the navigator are right there for us.
Rom 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
- To reign with Christ eventually and right now
We all want to make a difference in an eternal way. All of our projects, efforts, and work may be for nothing if we are not actively listening and getting our direction from the Holy Spirit.
Our efforts, if not in God’s plan, are like the hay and stubble which will burn. If the Holy Spirit directs our efforts, then we are doing something eternal which will produce jewels for his glory.
2 Tim 2: 11-13 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him
5. Does this mean I should never do anything without a clear directive from the Holy Spirit?
- No, it does not mean that.
It would be so awesome to have a word from God on everything, but God also expects you to take action and make decisions as he would make them.
We should pray before making important decisions, make sure our choices lines up with the Bible and move forward. Sometimes the Holy Spirit is decidedly silent. However, we may have to readjust as God makes his plans more clear.
6.What makes the Holy Spirit be silent?
- Not being consulted
The Holy Spirit most definitely gets more silent when we do not ask him about things in our lives. He is a person (of the God type, not the human being type). He can be grieved and quenched. If we want the Holy Spirit to give input into our lives, then we must regularly ask him.
1 Thes 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit
- Not being obeyed
When the Holy Spirit gives a directive which is ignored, he waits patiently until we are ready to listen. “I will obey right away, all the way with a happy heart” (from “Growing Kids God’s Way”), is the best response to the Holy Spirit.
- Not being acknowledged or respected
How often do we even say or hear the name of the Holy Spirit? Do we acknowledge him? Do we give him credit for what he does? Jesus made it clear that the Holy Spirit is the one on earth with whom we interact. He also made it clear that the Holy Spirit is to be respected and honored. The Holy Spirit is our way to be reminded of what Jesus taught us and how we might love and obey God.
John 14:26: But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
7. How can I be sure that I am hearing from the Holy Spirit?
- It will conform to the Bible.
- It will have reliable confirmations from 2 to 3 other sources (the Bible or other reliable wise Christians).
- The Holy Spirit will develop a track record of truth with us.
We will grow to know the voice of the Holy Spirit better with experience. We will learn to trust, listen and follow him more. Obedience makes his voice grow clearer and louder.
8. Is there a deeper level of Holy Spirit prayer?
- Becoming a watchman on the wall.
The Holy Spirit may assign us watch times to pray as watchmen on the wall. He may show us a danger that is coming and tell us to pray about it. He may have us pray for someone without any knowledge of why. Later the reason may surface, or it may not.
- Prayer walking
Putting feet to our prayers (literally) in prayer walking, takes our prayer into the world.
9. Any other hints?
- Write it down.
If the King of the Universe speaks to us, we may want to write down what he says. Keep a journal.
- Ponder his lessons or answers in our hearts.
There may be more riches that the Holy Spirit will keep uncovering when you have this trusting, listening, and obeying relationship with him. If we get a word or picture, we may want to ponder it so the Spirit can bring us to a fullness of understanding.
- Enjoy the amazing time with the Holy Spirit. The wonder of it only increases.
- Think of the big picture.
The big picture of our walk with the Holy Spirit is like a journey toward the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle of God’s chosen people. Before salvation, we wander around looking for love in all the wrong places. Finally, at conversion, we come into the tabernacle through the sheep gate, which is Jesus himself. Then we start upon the narrow road towards conforming to Christ and reigning with him.
The road can be called grace (or it can be called abundant relationship with the Holy Spirit). There are ditches on each side which can stall us. One ditch is self righteousness, and the gully on the other side is self indulgence.
We travel by the Bronze Altar where we offer ourselves as a daily sacrifice. We also stop daily at the laver which is the Word of God, giving us cleansing and a true look at who we are.
We start as acquaintances to the Holy Spirit when we enter the outer court. After time with him and some transformation, we move into the Holy Place where we begin to be friends with the Holy Spirit–we know his voice better and are learning to obey.
The next change takes place when we actually know him so well that we know his heart. Then we move into the Holy of Holies and into the very heart of the Holy Spirit. We become lovers of him. We seek to do his will more than our own. At this point we can start to reign with Christ making a difference for eternity. This is the place from which we want to be praying. (Disclaimer: I am not in that place yet.)