Matthew 6:9 – Pray then, in this way.
As Jesus continued His teachings on the mountain, He began to instruct about prayer. Jesus gave us a pattern of prayer and the Holy Spirit uses this pattern to guide us as we pray. Many know this prayer as The Lord’s Prayer. It was not meant to be recited, but to be a pattern of critical areas for which we are to seek God.
The first area the Spirit of God wants to help us with is the fact that God is our Father. The Jews knew of God as a Father, but Jesus revealed Him as Our Father. What a revelation the Spirit of God has given! He is not a father who is distant, but the Father who is personal and close! Spirit-led prayer is meant to develop intimacy with our heavenly Father. Many believers confess a relationship with Christ, but still do not know a relationship with their heavenly Father. In many cases, it is because they have not known a true relationship with their earthly father.
In the upper room at the Last Supper, Phillip asked Jesus “to show them the Father” (John 14:8). Jesus was disappointed in the request because the purpose of His time with the disciples was to reveal His Father. They had missed one of the most important reasons of His mission. We too, can be blessed by Jesus’ presence in the gifts and His nature, but miss what the Holy Spirit wants us to know. The Father! Jesus said to His disciples, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Phillip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’ (John 14:9)? Could it be that the Holy Spirit might say the same thing to us?
To know the Holy Spirit, who is the spirit of the Father and the spirit of the Son, is to know the Father. Every day, speak to God as Your Father and make it even more personal by relating to Him as your Father. I want to know Him more and more as my Father who is my all in all. If that is your desire, begin to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the Father to you. He desires to be known as Daddy, in the original language, “Abba.” By His power, He has made you His child. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).
Matthew 6:8 – Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
Spirit-led prayer is not informational. Our Father in heaven already knows our needs. Prayer is not about words as much as it is about a relationship with our creator, redeemer, and the lover of our souls. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day uttered many words in prayer. They truly were not praying to God. They prayed to impress those watching them go through their religious act. Some take prayer to the extreme of only meditating. It is good to meditate! The Holy Spirit will lead us at times to what the Psalmist taught: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Waiting and listening is a very essential part of prayer. Some have gotten so mystical they separate themselves from family and culture. They isolate themselves to meditate, trying to touch God. The Holy Spirit will lead, from time to time, to get alone with our heavenly Father. Jesus regularly spent private time with His Father. He brought back to His disciples what He had received.
As we allow the Holy Spirit to teach us the Word of God, He will instruct us how to be an instrument in God’s hands by coming to know God’s will. Christian prayer is meant to be relational. It is spending time in our Father’s presence. Prayer is using the views of Scripture in our communication with the Lord. Prayer is sharing your heart’s burden. Prayer is making our requests known to God. Spirit-filled and Spirit-led prayer comes out of righteousness and relationship with the heavenly Father. “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16).
Many more things could be said about prayer, but nothing takes the place of simply praying. Start today with these few thoughts I have shared. Regularly have your Bible with you in your dedicated prayer time. Let the Scriptures guide you in knowing God’s will. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to portions of God’s Word which He would have you consider.
Romans 12:6 – Each of us is to exercise our gifts.
In our devotion yesterday, I spoke of exercising the gifts. Paul makes the point that we are to exercise or use the gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God gives us gifts, but we must receive them and put them to use. Many believers have received gifts from God, but do not use them regularly, if at all. I know of those who were prayed for to receive the gift of prophecy and then prophesied, but did not continue to exercise the gift and it fell dormant. What is the purpose of receiving a gift if the one receiving the gift never uses it?
The gifts of God are meant to be used. In most cases, they are used to benefit others by revealing God’s love for them. Not exercising the gifts which the Holy Spirit chooses to give, denies others an experience of God’s grace through our life. It is important that we seek God for how He wants to use our lives. It is equally important to develop a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, the helper, so we learn to be sensitive to His leading and gifting through us. As we increase our devotion to God, we will become increasingly sensitive to the Spirit’s leading and to His empowerment.
Father, I make myself available to Your Holy Spirit. Lord, show me the gifts You desire to give and release through my life. I ask to be used effectively in ministering Your love to others. I desperately need Your presence and Your gifts to be operating in my life.
Romans 12:6 – We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us.
The promise of the Father as recorded in Luke 24:49 was that the Holy Spirit would be given to everyone who put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. When we speak of grace, we are speaking of God’s gift. We receive the grace of God when we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings with Him everything the Father has made available in Christ. Paul is helping us understand that we are given different gifts according to the grace in our life. Romans 12:6 list some of those gifts. Each gift operates according to the measure of grace the Holy Spirit gives to an individual believer.
As we develop our relationship with the Holy Spirit, we should become increasingly aware of how the Spirit of God chooses to use our lives. We should become aware of the individual grace given to us to help others in their need. The Holy Spirit desires for us to receive His grace that has been freely made available to each believer. Some think, when the grace of God is given to a believer, the gift operating in and through them is complete and fully developed. Grace is simply God’s gift, whether it is our initial salvation, the receiving of the Holy Spirit in power, or one of the gifts of the Spirit spoken of here in the Romans passage and throughout 1 Corinthians 12-14.
Each gift of the Spirit must be nurtured and developed. We grow in our salvation, learning how to apply what the Lord gives us on a daily basis. A particular gift such as prophecy must be exercised in order for us to learn how to become effective in the gift’s operation. The gifts of healing are another example. One must begin to pray for the sick in order for the gift to be imparted. The more people for whom we pray, the more experience we will gain in exercising this beautiful grace of God. Our daily walk with the Lord should be one of learning and growing in His grace.
Ask the Lord to make clear to you the grace He has and wants to give you. Ask Him to guide you in the operation of His gifts. Ask Him to help you grow in the application of His grace in your life. Pray to become increasingly effective in ministering His power to those in need of His wonderful grace.
1 Corinthians 12:31 – Earnestly desire the greater gifts. And yet I show you a still more excellent way.
All that God has done for us comes from His attribute of love, for God is love! Any gift He imparts to a believer comes from a motivation of His love. He expects His children to be operating with the same motivation as His. Desire for spiritual gifts is good and proper. The question becomes, “What is our motivation?” For some, it may be a need to feel accepted by God. For others, it may be the need for attention, and for others perhaps a sense of power. Our motivations must be measured up against the love of God.
Paul the apostle spent a great deal of time addressing the use of spiritual gifts. The subject is not a small one, nor should it be quickly glossed over. He bridges the believers’ instructions in 1 Corinthians twelve and fourteen with chapter thirteen. This chapter is known as the “love chapter.” We must be careful not to make the mistake so many have made setting the subject of love against the gifts of the Spirit or thinking that love is superior to the gifts, thus dismissing the need for these gifts. That view completely misses Paul’s point of writing these chapters. The gifts are an important part of our relationship to Christ. They are also our resource to more effectively share the good news of the kingdom. When our motivation is born out of love, the gifts become what God intended, conduits of His love. The same Holy Spirit who imparts His gifts to believers is the One who supplies the love of God through every believer.
Allow the Holy Spirit to examine your heart. Ask the Lord to reveal your true motivation. Ask the Holy Spirit to make your motivation pure. Ask for His supply of grace to move you into greater degrees of His love for others.