Holding to Truth

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How to Pray According to the Sense of the Spirit

 How to Pray According to the Sense of the Spirit

Are you a person that feels that you get little or nothing out of prayer?

 Or are you a Christian that finds it difficult to pray?

This is a serious matter because prayer is man’s supply line to God. All of God’s inexhaustible provision for us is transmitted to us through our prayer.

 All of God’s love, grace, peace, joy, strength, power, and wisdom, come to us through a proper practice of prayer. That’s because in proper prayer we really contact God—we get Him, so we get it all!  He becomes whatever we need, transfusing Himself into us through our prayer.

 But we can only receive this divine supply by “coming forward”—coming by faith to touch the Lord Himself by means of prayer.

 Heb. 4:16 says,

“Let us therefore come forward with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace for timely help.”

So if we’re just going through the motions of prayer we’re missing a lot!

Let’s go on to consider one vital point that will help us into the practice of effective prayer…

Vital prayers are prayers that are according to the “sense of the Spirit.”

 Here are 3 points that will help us to know the sense of the Spirit so that our prayers are vital and not formal.

1.  We need to be reborn of God’s Spirit and to know our regenerated spirit—our deepest part.

Our spirit is our deepest part. It’s the part of our inner being specifically created by God for us to contact Him and absorb Him.

Zech 12:1 says,

“…God stretched forth the heavens, laid the foundation of the earth, and formed the spirit of man within him.

Our spirit is so important! It’s ranked with the heavens and the earth.

At the moment that we believe into the Lord Jesus, this God-created human spirit gets “born anew,” that is, it’s regenerated by the Spirit—the Holy Spirit of God.

John 3:6 makes this point clear by saying,

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, but that which born of the Spirit is spirit.”

If you’ve never experienced this divine birth, that is,  to be “born of the Spirit” simply say,

“Lord Jesus, I need you. I open myself to You right now. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead to give me eternal life.  Cleanse me from all my sins with Your precious blood. Enliven my spirit with Your Spirit of life. Lord, I receive You and I love You. Amen.” 

Now that we’ve received the Lord Jesus, our reborn human spirit is the vital organ and the right location for us to contact God and give Him true worship.  John 4:24 says,

 God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit…”

So if our prayers are to have any real value before God, they first need to contact Him. It’s only by our regenerated spirit that we can contact His Spirit.

It is only in this spirit—our spirit, born of God’s Spirit—that we can render God true worship and drink of the living water that the Lord Jesus promised us (John 4:14; 7:37-39).

2. We need to forget our thoughts, open our spirit, and draw near to God with a sincere heart.

It doesn’t mean that we should never ask God for things. But we need to make sure that what we ask is according to His heart. At first, we need to put aside the prayer items that we’ve decided on, and begin by simply opening our spirit to draw near to God.

We may call on His name—“Lord Jesus! O Lord, I open to You.”

Tell the Lord you love Him.  Just learn to fellowship with Him. Read “14 Words to Enrich Your Fellowship with the Lord” for more help on this point.

As we draw near to the Lord, opening ourselves to Him, we should simply speak to Him without pretense. Converse with Him in a calm way, and even inquire of Him in our time of fellowship. Then we may have some feeling from the Lord in our spirit. This is the “sense of the Spirit.”

3. We need to allow the Lord to initiate the prayer within us.

When we have some feeling in our spirit, we need to do our best to follow that sense to pray according to the feeling or sense in our spirit. Don’t let it go. This takes some learning and practice. We’re all simply learners at one stage or the other and  the “school of prayer”  is one we’ll  never graduate from.

The more we pray according to the Lord’s initiation from our spirit, the more we will experience His supplying, comforting, encouraging, and answers. We will become inwardly bright, bold, and energetic according to the Lord’s moving in our prayer.

We may be moved to tears, consecrate our all to the Lord, or confess our sins and failures. We may be led to intercede for sinners’ salvation or for God’s work in certain places. All the while, we feel intimately close to the Lord, supplied by Him, and full of thanks and praise.

If however, we begin to pray and find our words are hollow, routine and without feeling, we need to stop.  It may be better to pause and read a few Bible verses and turn them into prayer—making the words of the Bible, the words of our prayer. This may give the Lord a way to initiate genuine prayer and give us the “sense of the Spirit.”

If you’ve been helped by this post on “How to Pray according to the Sense of the Spirit,” I hope you’ll share the help that you’ve received in a comment. Then you may want to read the rest of the posts in this series on the Prayer Life page.

Additional  Resources:

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

11 Replies

  1. I appreciate that we’re simply in the “school of prayer” learning to pray in oneness with the Lord. This is certainly a learning. Oftentimes we may not know what to pray. I’m helped knowing that we can draw near to God, open to Him, and allow Him to initiate the prayer that He needs. As we open to God in fellowship, we may gradually have a sense in our spirit to pray for a particular person or matter. In this instance, we can simply follow the sense in our spirit. This is a wonderful phenomenon, in which the indwelling Christ prays in our praying. May the Lord lead us and teach us in our prayer with Him.

    1. Tom Smith

      We’re really entering the “school of prayer”–like entering the “school of marriage.” We’re not learning to practice a ritual, but learning to spend time with a person, that is, to know the tender inward feelings of this mysterious Person who has come to live in us. We should simply have the attitude that we want to spend time with our Lord, linger in His presence and endeavor to touch what is on His heart. I believe that this also reflects back to the previous post about learning to pray inquiring prayers. We simply need to practice again and again, following the sense of our spirit and be genuine and open to the Lord in our spirit. Thanks again for an encouraging comment.

  2. I really appreciated the point about allowing God to initiate our prayers. Often we come to the Lord with a list of things we’d like to pray for, but it’s much better to come to the Lord and to give Him the opportunity to initiate our prayers. In this way we’re able to pray what’s on God’s heart, and we’re able to move His hand and to cooperate with Him for His move. It’s also very sweet to learn to be one with the Lord in this way and to echo what’s on His heart through our prayers.

    1. Tom Smith

      I appreciate how praying according to “the sense of the Spirit” goes along with praying inquiring prayers. This is part of our learning in the “school of prayer.” I knew that we should allow the Lord to initiate the prayer in us and to not just rattle off a prayer list. However, I did not fathom that this requires fellowship with inquiry in order to be able to intercede according to God’s desire. We really need to spend more time with the Lord to fellowship with Him in order to touch the sense in our spirit. Then in such a fellowship we can inquire of the Lord concerning His desire. Based on our sense while inquiring, we can go on to intercede so as to echo His desire.

  3. I love the 3rd point. We need to learn to pray from within that is Our Spirit. Yes, when we pray according to our Spirit, there is no struggle or difficulty, its an awesome experience Furthermore, Prayer is communication with God and communication is supposed to be genuine not mechanical. When we decide genuinely communicate with God, then prayer will not be difficult

    1. Tom Smith

      It is so helpful to realize that we are not merely human beings on earth praying to a God far away in the heavens. Since the issue of God’s salvation is the indwelling of His Spirit in our spirit (Rom. 8:9-11, 16), we can now pray by the inner sense and moving of His Spirit within. As we’re lingering in fellowship with Him, it’s good to inquire of the Lord (Psa. 27:4) in order to sense the desire of His heart. Such a communication is fine, intimate and requires that we learn to quiet our soul in His presence. In an age when we expect everything to be instant, it’s a real lesson to wait on the Lord, to touch His heart. But it is in this way that we can pray according to the burden that He initiates. I’m endeavoring to learn this lesson more deeply.

      If you enjoyed this post, you may also find my previous post on inquiring prayers helpful: https://holdingtotruth.com/2012/07/18/prayers-of-inquiry/

  4. Beatriz

    What about religious prayers in the soul? Will be listened/answered by God?

    1. Tom Smith


      The prayers that God is obliged to respond to are those that are prayed “in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ.” To pray in the Lord’s name is not just to use the name of Jesus as a kind of “signature” at the end of our prayer. Our entire prayer must be “in the name of Jesus.” His name denotes His person and the Spirit is the reality of His person. Hence, when we call on the name of the Lord, we’re in the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3). In practice, this means that only those prayers that are uttered in the union of His Spirit with our spirit are true prayers that God is committed to listen to and answer. John 4:24 says, “God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness.”

      1. Beatriz

        The Lord reminded me about Cornelius, and I think that in His mercy sometimes probably He listens 🙂

  5. Koit Pärn

    “When we have some feeling in our spirit, we need to do our best to follow that sense to pray according to the feeling or sense in our spirit. Don’t let it go.”
    We have a living Person in us. He is so attractive and loveable. Hallelujah!

    1. Tom Smith

      Amen. May we realize that the praying Christ, who is always interceding for us (Heb. 7:25), is now indwelling our spirit (2 Tim. 4:22). We need to learn to follow the sense in our spirit—which is one spirit with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17). When we follow His sense in our spirit in our prayer, He flows through our prayer and adds more of Himself to us in our prayer, renewing our mind (Rom. 12:2) and making us one with Him to carry out His will on earth.

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