The Spirit Of Supplication
By Andrew Murray
"...I will pour upon the house of David…the Spirit of grace and of supplications" (Zech. 12:10).
"...The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (Rom. 8:26-27).
The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of prayer. He was promised as a "Spirit of grace and supplication," the grace for supplication. Prayer is the breathing of the Spirit in us; power in prayer comes from the power of the Spirit in us, waited on and trusted in. Failure in prayer comes from feebleness of the Spirit’s work in us. Our prayer is the index of the measure of the Spirit’s work in us. To pray aright, the life of the Spirit must be right in us. For praying the effectual, much-availing prayer of the righteous man, everything depends on being full of the Spirit.
Three Lessons in Being Taught to Pray by the Spirit
1. Believe that the Spirit dwells in you (Eph. 1:13). Deep in the inmost recesses of his being, hidden and unfelt, every child of God has the holy, mighty Spirit of God dwelling in him. He knows it by faith, the faith that accepts God’s Word and realizes that of which he sees as yet no sign.
When we quietly believe that in the midst of all our conscious weakness, the Holy Spirit as a Spirit of supplication is dwelling within us for the very purpose of enabling us to pray in such manner and measure as God would have us, our hearts will be filled with hope. We shall be strengthened in the assurance which lies at the very root of a happy and fruitful Christian life, that God has made an abundant provision for our being what He wants us to be. We shall begin to lose our sense of burden and fear and discouragement about our ever praying sufficiently because we see that the Holy Spirit Himself will pray and is praying in us.
2. Beware above everything of grieving the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30). If you do, how can He work in you the quiet, trustful, and blessed sense of that union with Christ which makes your prayers well pleasing to the Father? Beware of grieving Him by sin, by unbelief, by selfishness, by unfaithfulness to His voice in conscience, etc. Do not consider it impossible to obey the command, "Grieve not the Spirit." He Himself is the very power of God to make you obedient. The sin that comes up in you against your will, the tendency to sloth or pride or self-will or passion that rises in the flesh, your will can at once reject in the power of the Spirit. Cast your sin upon Christ and His blood, and your communion with God is immediately restored.
Accept each day the Holy Spirit as your leader and life and strength. You can count upon Him to do in your heart all that ought to be done there. The unseen and unfelt One, but known by faith, gives there the love and the faith and the power of obedience you need. He reveals Christ unseen within you as actually your life and strength. Grieve not the Holy Spirit by distrusting Him because you do not feel His presence in you.
3. "Be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18). While some rest content with a small measure of the Spirit’s working, it is God’s will that we should be filled with the Spirit. Our whole being ought to be entirely yielded up to the Holy Spirit to be possessed and controlled by Him alone. We may count upon and expect the Holy Spirit to take possession and fill us. If we have seen that prayer is the great need of our work and of the Church, if we have desired or resolved to pray more, let us turn to the very source of all power and blessing – let us believe that the Spirit of prayer, even in His fullness is for us.
It is to the Father we pray, and from whom we expect the answer. It is in the merit and name and life of the Son as we abide in Him and He in us, that we trust to be heard. But have we understood that in the Holy Trinity all the Three Persons have an equal place in prayer and that the faith in the Holy Spirit of intercession as praying in us is as indispensable as the faith in the Father and the Son? As much as prayer must be to the Father and through the Son, it must be by the Spirit. It is only as we give ourselves to the Spirit living and praying in us that the glory of the prayer-hearing God and the ever-blessed and most effectual mediation of the Son can be known by us in their power.
– Abridged from The Ministry Of Intercession by Andrew Murray.