Living in Christ and by His Spirit is not a 5-step list or a how-to lesson. For some reason, though, we tend to default to lists and procedures, even in prayer, never knowing the freedom of relying on Holy Spirit to lead and guide. (See previous post)
I assure you, this is not a how-to pray message. It’s more like how not to pray, from observations that have changed my own prayer life. If you remember nothing else from this post, I hope the theme will attach itself to your brain to be applied every time you pray from now on: Turn off auto-pilot in prayer.
- There is a difference between praying (talking with Daddy) and interceding for others. We converse with Him, as we do with acquaintances becoming friends, to know Him better – not just to know about Him. When we understand His direction for us in intercession, we boldly speak it aloud into the spirit realm. Jesus spoke to illness1 in intercession, after spending early and late hours in prayer.
- Rely on Holy Spirit to bring Bible verses to mind, rather than merely quoting what is always used in particular situations – healing, provision, relationship issues, etc. The pinpoint accuracy of the verses He brings when we listen go straight to the root of the actual problem, which is not always obvious to the natural mind.
- If you talk to me, does it sound like this? “Kay, it’s so good to see you, Kay. And, Kay, there are things happening, Kay, that I need you, Kay, to help me understand, Kay….” Of course not. Neither do we write personal letters that way. Why, then, do we do this to our heavenly Father? Prayer is not stilted and distracting like this, but is a back and forth conversation with someone we are getting to know more intimately.
- Reminding God of His promises is wasted breath. Yes, I said that. If things aren’t happening the way we read in the Bible, it’s not because He has forgotten. Ever. While we can be helped by hearing those verses again, it’s not necessary to jog God’s memory. Since Jesus Christ lives in us by His Spirit, when we speak His Word, we speak spiritually. The ones we remind of God’s unbreakable promises to us are the angelic rulers and authorities of the spirit realm.2
- Asking God to do what He’s already done, no matter how sincerely, is redundant. For example, “Be with (or near) me.” Or, “Bless so-and-so.” Are we in Christ and Christ in us?3 Because of what happens when we receive Christ, He cannot be closer. Because of what He has finished, we are already blessed. So why keep asking?
I hope you will share in the comments your own examples of auto-pilot prayer my observations brought to light. We need each other to shine the light of Christ in ways we’ve missed before. Just remember to turn off that auto-pilot!
1 Matthew 8:5-13
2 Ephesians 3:10
3 John 14:18-20
4 John 1:16-17 Amplified For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift. For while the Law was given through Moses, grace (unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing) and truth came through Jesus Christ.