Praying in the Spirit
By Noel Chartier
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (Ephesians 6:18).
There is an old saying that states, There are more things wrought by prayer than this world dreams of. In the book of Ephesians, persevering prayer is the last of seven pieces of armour that Paul says we ought to put on in our spiritual battle against the enemy of our souls. In any battle it is important that communication lines with the Captain of our salvation are kept open. He has the greater view of the battle, and so we should report to Him frequently and wait for His instructions in all things. When the communication lines are broken, there is great potential for disaster.
It has been suggested by some that praying in the spirit is a reference to speaking in tongues, but this cannot be for Paul is addressing his letter to all the saints in Ephesus. This piece of armour is not only for the few, if any, who may have had the gift of speaking in tongues in the Church at Ephesus, but for all the brethren (Ephesians 6:10). Can it be that only an elect few with the gift of speaking in tongues could pray in the Spirit? Are not the prayers of all the saints who are praying in the will of the Lord as the Holy Spirit leads them, prayers in the Spirit?
This is just another example of how the Charismatic Movement has skewed the Scriptures and detrimentally influenced many to misinterpret the God's Word with their teachings. What benefit could any prayer be where the one praying has no understanding of what he is saying? Paul says this would be unfruitful (1Corinthians 14:15), and exhorts us to pray with the spirit, and pray with the understanding also (1Corinthians 14:15).
The fact of the matter is that Paul said, tongues shall cease (1 Corinthians 13:8). The word cease comes from the Greek word pauo, were we get our word pause from, which simply means come to an end. The gift of tongues was a gift of the Spirit that was fully operational in the days of the apostles, but Paul said it would be done away with when that which is perfect is come (v. 9). Some have tried to force their own interpretation on these verses to mean Christ at His Second Coming. This could never refer to Christ at His Second Coming for that is a neuter pronoun. Furthermore, that which is perfect comes from one Greek word, teleios which means, complete or mature. In the context, that which is perfect appears to be referring to the completion of Biblical revelation.
Paul went on to say, When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known (1 Corinthians 13:11-12).
James also used these exact same metaphors when referring to the Scriptures. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect [Gr. teleios] law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed (James 1:23-25).
The Word of God is like a mirror or glass where we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18). The Scriptures reveal to us who we are, and by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, enable us to make the necessary changes to be like Jesus.
Now, with the completed canon of Scripture we have all the truth we need for our guidance until Christ comes again. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
It is clear that some of the gifts of the Spirit were not for all people, nor for all time. Some of these were to be done away with when the revelation of God's written Word was completed with the last apostle, John (Revelation 22:18-19).
As with when the rapture occurs, praying in tongues is also an in-house discussion. Another view shared by many is on my blog here: http://whilewecan.net/?page_id=42
This is pathetic dishonesty with Scripture. You should be ashamed. Paul uses "praying in tongues" and "praying (with or in) the spirit" interchangeably and HONOR should compel you to see that. You should be ashamed to promote false doctrine. God is not honored by your unbelief.
The gift of speaking in tongues (Gr. dialectos; foreign dialect or language) that has not been previously learned, has now ceased since the canon of Scripture has been completed and now gone into the ends of the world. Paul had the gift of tongues, but they were nothing at all like all this gibberish that is manifest in charismatic circles that we see today. He was an itinerant evangelist who brought the gospel (before the New Testament canon was written) to many different countries and effectively communicated it to the hearers of those far regions he reached.
Charismatic believe that speaking in gibberish (because that is all they are doing) is a sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Paul clears up this nonsense saying, "Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?" (1 Corinthians 12:29-30). Figure it out...
The primary purpose of tongues was a sign to the unbelieving Jews. "In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe." (1 Corinthians 14:21-22)
It convinced Peter that the gentiles were also to be included in the body of Christ. When Peter reluctantly preached the gospel to the house of Corneilius (a gentile), "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God." (Acts 10:44-46)
Peter later recounted this event to the rest of the apostles saying, "And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?" (Acts 14:15-17)
The gentiles speaking in tongues was the proof positive that God was now moving along with His program to be a light to the gentiles and to incorporate them also into the body of Christ. There was such a schism between the Jew and the gentiles that God performed this mighty miracle to break down the wall of division between the two. For the first eight years the church was Jewish. The evidence or the sign that God had now included the gentiles in the one body of Christ was the miraculous gift of tongues. At that time it was absolutely necessary, today it is not.
The gentiles were "were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father." (Ephesians 2:12-18)