EXERCISING TO PRAY IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
Scripture Reading: Jude 20
THE NECESSITY OF PRAYING IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
In this chapter we will practice praying with Jude 20. This verse speaks about two things. First, it speaks of being built up in the most holy faith. This is related to reading the Word. Second, it speaks of praying in the Holy Spirit. This is related to prayer. No other verse in the Bible is as concise as this verse in the matter of prayer. Prayer should be in the Holy Spirit. We should pray in the Holy Spirit. Prayer, which is a matter of man cooperating with God, must possess two natures. Prayers that come only from man, which are not mingled with God, are merely religious prayers. They do not touch God, breathe in God, or reach God. This is the reason that Jude says we should pray in the Holy Spirit. The words in the Holy Spirit are very good. In Ephesians 6:18 the Chinese Union Version translates this portion as “praying by the Spirit.” The meaning of praying by the Spirit is unclear. Jude 20, however, is translated correctly; we should pray in the Holy Spirit. Praying in the Holy Spirit means that we and the Holy Spirit must pray together.
The secret to the Christian life is to be mingled with the Holy Spirit. The spiritual life of a Christian is absolutely a matter of man being mingled with the Holy Spirit. When we are in the Holy Spirit, we have a spiritual life. When we are not in the Holy Spirit, we do not have a spiritual life. It is possible for us to have all kinds of religious activities, but if we are not in the Holy Spirit, there is no way for us to have a genuine spiritual life. This particularly applies to prayer. Apart from the Holy Spirit we only have religious prayers that are commonly found in Christianity. These prayers have no spiritual worth before God. If we want genuine, spiritual prayers, prayers that reach God, touch God, breathe in God, and are in God, we must pray in the Holy Spirit.
BEING IN THE HOLY SPIRIT INVOLVING
THE FELLOWSHIP AND MINGLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
WITH OUR SPIRIT
Since many brothers and sisters still may not understand what it is to be in the Holy Spirit, let me explain further. God is Spirit, and we have a spirit. Our spirit is the same in nature as the Spirit of God. God’s Spirit is invisible and nonmaterial. Our spirit is also invisible and nonmaterial. We have a spirit within us that enables us to contact God who is Spirit.
The Lord Jesus said that “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit” (John 4:24). This means that we must turn to our spirit and exercise our spirit in order to worship and touch God who is Spirit. These two spirits, the Spirit of God and our spirit, need to fellowship with one another, live with one another, and be mingled together. For this reason Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God.” The word with reveals that the Spirit and our spirit are mingled as one.
We were created as men, and we have a spirit within us. At the time of our salvation, the blood washed us, and the Holy Spirit entered into our spirit. In the Gospel of John the Lord Jesus said that when the Spirit comes, He will be with us forever (14:16-17). He will abide within us forever. Every believer has the Spirit of God in his spirit. God’s Spirit is in our spirit, and our spirit is in His Spirit. The expressions You in Me and I in you are both found in the Gospel of John (v. 20). This transpires in our spirit. You in Me means that our spirit is in His Spirit, and I in you means that His Spirit is in our spirit. The phrase abide in Me and I in you means that our spirit abides in His Spirit, and His Spirit abides in our spirit (15:4). These portions of the Scriptures describe a condition in our spirit.
Some may ask how we know that such a condition exists in our spirit. How do we know that the Spirit of God abides in our spirit and that our spirit abides in His Spirit? In other words, how do we know that there is a fellowship and mingling between the two spirits within us? This is something every believer can easily know. For example, even though our outward circumstances may be painful and difficult to bear, we have a sweet sense of consolation and unspeakable joy deep within us. This sense of comfort and joy comes from experiencing God. It is a sense of being before God, of being together with Him. At other times we may be bewildered, not knowing what to do. If we would look to the Lord, the condition within us would be bright and transparent. We would spontaneously be clear concerning how to proceed. This condition deep within us is the story of God’s Spirit being mingled with our spirit.
Sometimes we may feel dry, empty, and unsure of ourselves even though we are lacking in nothing outwardly. We may feel ill at ease whether we are sitting, walking, or lying down. This reveals that our spirit is short of God’s presence; our spirit is lacking the nourishment of the Holy Spirit. There is a lack between our spirit and the Spirit.
These examples help us to understand what it means for God’s Spirit to be in our spirit and for our spirit to be in His Spirit. Once we understand the story of mutual fellowship between these two spirits, we can understand what it means to be in the Holy Spirit. To be in the Holy Spirit is absolutely a matter in our spirit.
There is a story about a brother whose countenance was glowing with an indescribable joy as he was working. He was so happy that he was even laughing. This caused his colleagues to ask what was happening to him. They thought that it was something psychological. He responded that since they did not have Jesus within them, they could not understand what was happening. He said that his joy was the issue of his spirit fellowshipping with the Spirit of God within him. Hence, he could not help but be happy. He said that if his happiness was merely something psychological, it would be unnatural and forced. When his spirit fellowshipped with the Spirit of God, all his burdens disappeared. He could not help but have a happiness that came from the depth of his being.
This is a story about being in the spirit. As long as we touch God’s Spirit with our spirit, such an experience will follow. Although we cannot see the Spirit of God with our eyes or feel Him with our hands, we can clearly sense Him when He touches us within. On the evening of His resurrection the Lord Jesus breathed into the disciples and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (20:22). The Lord Jesus used breath to represent the Holy Spirit. This is very meaningful. Although we can neither see nor touch air, we know that it has entered us because we feel inwardly relieved, refreshed, and comforted. In contrast, when there is insufficient air in a room, we feel stuffy and uncomfortable. This is a good illustration. This also applies to the Holy Spirit within us. When we are short of the Holy Spirit, we feel oppressed, bound, and constricted within, but when we fellowship with the Holy Spirit, we are immediately relieved and refreshed. This condition indicates that the Holy Spirit is within us and that He is mingled with our spirit. This proves that our spirit abides in God’s Spirit and that His Spirit abides in our spirit. In other words, we are abiding in God, and God is abiding in us. This is absolutely a matter in the spirit.