Want to learn more about building a life of prayer? Me too. Meet me here on Wednesdays for an ongoing series exploring prayer using Dr. Andrew Murray's book, With Christ in the School of Prayer. I'm honored to learn alongside you.
A straightforward study this week on the nature of the Holy Spirit. Dr. Murray wants us to really understand Who is this Counselor and how He effects prayer.
John 16:23 records Jesus' words: "In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name." In that day, (or At that day, from the KJV) Murray tells us,
"...is the day of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The great work Christ was to do on the cross, the mighty power and the complete victory to be manifested in His resurrection and ascension, were to issue in the coming down from heaven, as never before, of the glory of God to dwell in men. The Spirit of the glorified Jesus was to come and be the life of His disciples. And one of the marks of that wonderful spirit-dispensation was to be a power in prayer hitherto unknown—prayer in the Name of Jesus, asking and obtaining whatsoever they would, is to be the manifestation of the reality of the Spirit’s indwelling."
The Holy Spirit, though part of the eternal Trinity, becomes something new to us with the completed work of Christ on the cross.
"He came now first as the Spirit of the glorified Jesus. Even as the Son, who was from eternity God, had entered upon a new existence as man, and returned to heaven with what He had not before, so the Blessed Spirit, whom the Son, on His ascension, received from the Father into His glorified humanity, came to us with a new life, which He had not previously to communicate. Under the Old Testament He was invoked as the Spirit of God: at Pentecost He descended as the Spirit of the glorified Jesus, bringing down and communicating to us the full fruit and power of the accomplished redemption.
The Holy Spirit, now dwelling within us, will draw us in and unite us with the work of Christ: prayer, His never-ending intercession before the Father's throne.
"Through the Spirit, Christ’s prayers become ours, and ours are made His: we ask what we will, and it is given to us. We then understand from experience, ‘Hitherto ye have not asked in my Name. At that day ye shall ask in my Name.’"
This is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the glorified Jesus in His exaltation-power, coming on us as the Spirit of the indwelling Jesus, revealing the Son and the Father within. It is when this Spirit is the Spirit not of our hours of prayer, but of our whole life and walk, when this Spirit glorifies Jesus in us by revealing the completeness of His work, and making us wholly one with Him and like Him, that we can pray in His Name, because we are in very deed one with Him. Then it is that we have that immediateness of access to the Father of which Jesus says, ‘I say not that I will pray the Father for you.’ Oh! we need to understand and believe that to be filled with this, the Spirit of the glorified One, is the one need of God’s believing people. Then shall we realize what it is, ‘with all prayer and supplication to be praying at all seasons in the Spirit,’ and what it is, ‘praying in the Holy Ghost, to keep ourselves in the love of God.’ ‘At that day ye shall ask in my Name.’
"And so once again the lesson comes: What our prayer avails, depends upon what we are and what our life is. It is living in the Name of Christ that is the secret of praying in the Name of Christ; living in the Spirit that fits for praying in the Spirit. It is abiding in Christ that gives the right and power to ask what we will: the extent of the abiding is the exact measure of the power in prayer. It is the Spirit dwelling within us that prays, not in words and thoughts always, but in a breathing and a being deeper than utterance. Just so much as there is of Christ’s Spirit in us, is there real prayer."
And so we continue to learn that prayer is not a happy devotional tool or an arduous duty for true Christians, but rather, the very evidence and outpouring of the living God within us. To be Christ-like IS to pray. To pray is to be Christ-like.
Let's pray together:
Would You indeed fill us with Your Spirit? We are hungry to be filled more and more, day by day. And as You fill us Lord, may our small, weak, petty selves be burnt up in Your holy fire until there is less and less of us and only You remain. Pray through us, Holy Spirit. Breathe through us and live through us. May we truly do all things in the name of Jesus. Give us more than we can even imagine or know to desire, Lord. Thank You for Your grace.
In Your precious Name,
Next week I'll be sharing my thoughts from Lesson Twenty-Six: ‘I Have Prayed for Thee’ Or, Christ, The Intercessor. I hope you'll join us.
Previous entries in this series can be found here: Wednesday Prayer Series