Roles of the Spirit 5: Prayer

Roles of the Spirit 5:


In a dark room a pair of hands rest on a wooden rail. The hands a clasped in prayer and lit from within.

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  — Galatians 4:6 ESVUK

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. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. — Romans 8:26–27

  • The supreme source in all Christian prayer is the Holy Spirit
  • The protagonist in all Christian prayer is the Holy Spirit
  • We should never pray without the power of the Holy Spirit
  • The Holy Spirit prays in us and moves us to pray well
  • We can ask the Holy Spirit to teach us to pray because he is the source, the one who truly prays in us he blows in the hearts of all of us who are the disciples of Jesus
  • To pray we must humble ourselves so the Holy Spirit may come into us and guide us into prayer

The Bullet points above were given in a general audience by Pope Francis in May this year. I love his simplicity. I love the simplicity and profoundness of what he says.

I am unable to be that concise, but I will try to condense my thoughts on the Holy Spirit and prayer into four points, whilst also endorsing those of the Pope above.

In us

The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness, our despair, our darkest moments. When we are at our lowest point the Holy Spirit prays in us. We learn that faith is not an escape from the world but an engagement with the world, the Holy Spirit being with us through the worst that the world can bring. When we do not have the power the Holy Spirit

For us

The Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” If you want a soundbite about the intercessory work of the Spirit, this is it. Soundbites are fine if there is the depth to back them up. 

The will of God is for us, and the Holy Spirit’s leading us in prayer is for us and for the people we pray for. It is something I have found to be reliable through very difficult times in my life.

With us

We do not pray alone. When we pray the Holy Spirit is praying also in us and for us. The Holy Spirit stands alongside us as we pray, and the witness of the Holy Spirit in our lives tells us that God will never condemn us.

Through us

We have a role to play here. We need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit because God respects our wills and seldom if ever works against a person’s will. We can quench the Spirit, which means we can stop the Holy Spirit from working through us by deliberately saying no to God. We prefer our own way, or the people down the road look like they are having more fun than we are. So we miss out on being part of God’s plan for the world, part of the continuing work of Jesus Christ. We should always pray with the power of the Holy Spirit and all that takes is a little prayer. Say “Holy Spirit come.”

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