Sunday, September 18, 2011

Prayer – Led by the Spirit

It's been an eventful past few weeks. Asia has her driver's license. The kids have started school. We celebrated Asia's birthday. Elijah's flag football season has started. And Elijah and I went out to the TCF Bank stadium for the first time, as we watched the Gophers football team lose their home opener. I loved how when the Gophers scored, the announcer would say "that's six points in the Bank". It's a fun place to watch a football game. And this week is Burnsville homecoming, and both Asia and Maggie are going to the homecoming dance.

For today's post, I thought I would talk a bit more about the full Armor of God (Ephesians chapter 6) which protects believers from the enemy's attacks. More specifically, I wanted to talk about Ephesians 6:18's discussion that as part of believer's armor, we need to pray in the Spirit. Here is Ephesians 6:18:

18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication…

The Apostle Paul is not telling us that we should be praying at all times by speaking in 'tongues' (a gift of the Holy Spirit, see 1 Corinthians 12:10). Because speaking in tongues is a spiritual gift that only a portion of the believer's are blessed with, it would not make sense for Paul to tell us that everyone should be praying in tongues at all times. Instead, I believe he is telling us that our prayers should be led by the Holy Spirit. We do this through reading God's Word, taking the items that are on our heart, and asking God how we should pray about these things. By this, I mean that when something is causing us anxiousness, or even fear, then we should ask God what our prayers about this should look like. And God has always gently taught me through the something in the Bible, through something said by other believers, or by providing me with a new insight. Here is a short example of how this has worked for me. As our children starting going off to school, I didn't know how to pray for God's protection upon them. This is when an associate Pastor at Hosanna mentioned that for her children, she prayed a blessing upon them as they left for school. Her blessing was that God keep them "physically, spiritually and emotionally safe" this day. I love the conciseness and power of this blessing. And so, since then this has become a regular prayer for my children. This is how I think God leads us to pray being led by the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18, above) with things that are causing us stress in our lives. He loves us, He wants us to come to Him with our troubles, and He answers our prayers, in this case by putting someone in our lives to teach us how they deal with this same problem. God is great, and this has been a source of strength and peace to me every time I pray this simple blessing. This is an Ephesians 6:18 prayer in the Spirit.

So I want to see if my regular prayers may bless you, and if you are willing to share, how your regular prayers may be a blessing to others. Here are some of my regular prayers:

  • I start the day praying the Lord's Prayer (Matt 6). I try and pray it 2 to 3 times a day (see, the Didache, chapter 8). It's the best prayer, and again I love its conciseness and power;
  • I love the Apostle's creed (link here). I regularly pray this when my faith is running low;
  • I regularly pray for the forgiveness of my sins and the sins of my wife and children. I sometimes pray for the forgiveness of my friend's sins;
  • Once a week, I pray the physical and spiritual protection of my family and friends, co-workers and even clients. I ask for angels (cherubim, seraphim, arch-angels, angels and heavenly host) to be active in this protection, and the body of Christ (and for us to likewise bless and protect others). I pray for God's protection of us from Satan and his ally's and servant's attacks. I also pray against the enemy's camp with prayers that they be divided, even attacking each other. Finally, I pray that we are protected from the sins and negligence of others, and that we likewise not hurt others;
  • I like to regularly pray Pastor John Eldredge's prayer from his book 'Waking the Dead. Link here;

So, if you have any regular prayers that you are blessed by, I hope that you will share them as a comment. Thank you, and I pr ay that the Lord bless you with His strength, wisdom and peace this week. /s/ Tom Wolff

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