Praying in the Holy Spirit

Some great thoughts on praying in the Holy Spirit by my friend Steve Irvin. I pray you will be blessed.

dove“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit.” Jude 20

What does it mean biblically to pray in the Holy Spirit? We can discount some alternatives. For example, it is not a fervent attitude like “the Christmas spirit” or “team spirit.” Nor does it mean to pray “spiritually” with pious expression that may impress others around you but has no benefit before Him who sees the heart. Some may point to Ephesians 6:18—”praying in the Spirit”—and argue it should be a small “s” referring to praying with one’s spirit as opposed with one’s mind. However, the vast majority of translations adopt the capital “S,” convinced that, along with Jude, the Apostle Paul refers to the Holy Spirit, not to the human spirit of the individual. So, if it is not an attitude, a pious expression, or the spirit of the individual, what is it to pray in the Holy Spirit?

A parallel to this phrase is found in Galatians 5:16, “Walk in the Spirit” (KJV). The context makes it clear that to walk in the Holy Spirit is to be “led by the Spirit” (ESV) under the lordship of Christ. To walk in the Spirit is to be live guided by the Holy Spirit in obedient faith. In the same way, to pray in the Holy Spirit is to be guided in prayer by the Holy Spirit, in submission to Him and His will.

In this way, praying in the Spirit is closely tied to walking in the Spirit. It is wrongheaded to think that one could pray in the Holy Spirit if he or she is not walking in submission to the Holy Spirit. If your desire is to enter into this dynamic of prayer, your first step is to turn from a dependence on self to a dependence on Christ and the Holy Spirit. From obedience to self, to obedience to the Holy Spirit. “Lord, I yield fresh anew to You. Reign over my life and guide me in prayer by the Holy Spirit. Lead me to pray in the Holy Spirit!”

Steve Irvin
Madrid, Spain


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