As we are approaching summertime when many people will be away for weeks or even months, I thought it might be helpful to have some posts on a book or two which you might like to get hold of and read while you or your friends are away.
Maybe if a few of us read the books mentioned in the posts we would have food for thought when we get back together in the new term.
You might even be inspired to engage in new activities in God and find your growth in Him is richer and greater than you would generally expect from time out of your normal routines.
Anyhow, what are these books? The first one is Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets.
Here’s a taster for you:
This chapter is about our Helper, the Holy Spirit. Without any doubt the greatest single key to successful intercession is learning to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to be all He was sent to be in us. Jesus called Him our ‘Helper’ in John 14:26: ‘But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.’
Some translations use the word Comforter instead of Helper, but the word is Parakletos and means one called alongside to aid, help or support. It is such a powerful word that the Amplified version uses seven words to communicate its rich meaning: ‘Comforter, Counsellor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby, the Holy Spirit.’
I want to focus on Him as our ‘Helper’ and ‘Intercessor’.
We read in Romans 8:26-28
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Notice that verse 28 begins with the word ‘and’ which is a conjunction connecting verse 28 to verses 26 and 27, making it dependent on what is said there. In other words, all things DON’T work together for good in the lives of Christians unless certain conditions are met. All things CAN work together for our good, and God’s will is for all things to work together for our good, but this isn’t automatic. We have a part to play. It happens as verses 26 and 27 are being implemented.
I don’t believe the intercession of the Holy Spirit spoken of in these verses refers only to ‘tongues’. However, most of us in Pentecostal and charismatic circles believe it has to include this gift, which we believe allows the Holy Spirit to literally pray through us. It is not my intention in this book to prove this, nor am I implying that those who do not practice it are second rate in their praying.
If you do not pray in this way, it is my strong desire not to offend you. I have great love and respect for my non-charismatic brothers and sisters in Christ. Yet it is impossible for me to share what I believe The Lord has taught me concerning this passage without referring to praying in tongues, or as the Scriptures also word it, ‘ praying in the Spirit’. I will, therefore, be saying a good bit about this. From this point on, however, in an effort to be as inclusive and inoffensive as possible, I will only use the phrase ‘praying in the Spirit’. To charismatic readers, when you see this phrase, please know that I am including ‘tongues’. To the rest of you, please interpret with your belief of what it means to ‘pray in the Spirit’.
This passage says that the Holy Spirit wants to help us in our weakness. The word in Greek is astheneia and means literally ‘without strength’ or ability. An ‘inability to produce results’ is the concept communicated by the word.
Have you ever felt an inability in your prayer life to produce results? Have you ever come up against a ‘mountain’ you couldn’t move? I recall that happening to me a few years ago, or was that a few hours ago? It’s a fact of life…..
There’s such a depth of richness in this book, I may post more soon, but if I was you, I wouldn’t wait until the posts are completed, get and order it and by the time you’ve finished reading the bits I post here, you might have your own copy and you’ll be able to dive in and discover much more about this valuable way of praying. It is strong prayer, no passivity, but really engaging with God in the business of extending the Kingdom and building up the Church. Go get a copy!