‘Praying in the Holy Ghost.’ Jude 20
Suggested Further Reading: Romans 8:26–27
With such prayer it is an absolute certainty that I must succeed with God in prayer. If my prayer were my own prayer, I might not be so sure of it, but if the prayer which I utter be God’s own prayer written on my soul, God is always one with himself, and what he writes on the heart is only written there because it is written in his purposes. It is said by an old divine that prayer is the shadow of omnipotence. Our will, when God the Holy Spirit influences it, is the indicator of God’s will. When God’s people pray, it is because the blessing is coming, and their prayers are the shadow of the coming blessing. Rest assured of this, brethren, God never did belie himself; he never contradicted in one place what he said in another. You and I may contradict ourselves, not only through untruthfulness, but even through infirmity; we may not be able to stand to our word, and we may forget what we did say, and so in another place we may say something that contradicts it, but God is neither infirm as to memory, nor yet changeable as to will; what he promised yesterday he fulfils today, and what he has said in one place, he declares in another. Then if God says in my heart, ‘Pray for So-and-so,’ it is because he has said it in the book of his decrees. The Spirit of God’s writing in the heart always tallies with the writing of destiny in the book of God’s eternal purpose. Rest assured that you cannot but succeed when you have laid your soul like a sheet of paper before the Lord, and asked him to write upon it; then it is no more your own prayer merely, but the Spirit making intercession in you according to the will of God.
For meditation: We cannot guarantee at any given time that we are praying in the Spirit, but we will be heading in the right direction if we pray in faith (Matthew 21:22), in Jesus’ name (John 14:13–14; 16:24) and according to God’s revealed will (1 John 5:14–15), while being in a state of fellowship with Christ (John 15:7) and obedience to God (1 John 3:22).
Sermon no. 719
4 November (1866)