Prayer and the Holy Spirit

Posted by donna on January 3, 2017

invitation to prayer.jpgThis year, from January 18-25th, believers in Christ around the world will observe the Week of Prayer.  The theme for this year is “Christian Unity.” This is also a time when the Protestant Church celebrates the 500th Anniversary of The Reformation. At the heart of The Reformation is the reality of reconciliation to God through faith, apart from works.

As we contemplate this year’s theme, I want to direct our attention to the role the Holy Spirit plays in bringing about unity and reconciliation.

It is obvious that we need to be reconciled to God. Our sin and rebellion caused a depravity in our souls that separates us from God. Our soul must be remade. We must, as Jesus said in the gospel of John, chapter 3, be born again. By faith, we come to God and accept His grace in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit indwells, restores and remakes our souls into His own holiness.  This unity with God is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Paul makes this clear in Romans 8:   You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness ….  14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. ….16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

This new birth unites us to God and to the blessings of God for all eternity. Paul tells us that this unity is such that we can pray to God in and through the Spirit. It is the Spirit who knows the mind and will of God.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning’s too deep for words. 27 And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints per the will of God.

This new unity that we have with God creates a great and wonderful unity within the Body of Christ, the Church ... one Lord, one faith, one baptism. We are automatically united with one another because of the indwelling Holy Spirit witnessing to us that we, and others, are in Christ. The transforming nature of the Holy spirit conforming us to Christ means that we increasingly desire to be united with His body, the Church.   Hebrews 10:15–16(NIV)15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First, He says: 16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”  Ephesians 2:17–22 (NIV)17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of His household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the Chief Cornerstone. 21 In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.

Our new life in the Holy Spirit is one in which we, by our new nature, are eternally and blessedly united to God and as new creations in Christ Jesus, we are mystically and corporately united to one another.

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Willem Fietje

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