The Holy Spirit is as dunamis today as he was on the Day of Pentecost. On that day the disciples became apostles. They turned from fear to boldness. Their faith and doctrine were enhanced and empowered by the presence of the Holy Spirit. All of a sudden, everything that Jesus taught them made sense. The Kingdom of God was in them, in their inmost being, in their faith, and in their words and actions.
When challenged by the religious leaders and threatened with imprisonment, they continued preaching, healing, and seeing miracles happen while asking for more boldness, parresia, and dunamis (spiritual power that manifests in the natural realm).
Personally, I seldom feel the dunamis after repeating the prayers of the ancient fathers. I may feel comforted in knowing that I am loved and cared for by God. I may feel re-assurance after doubting myself. This kind of self-doubt usually occurs when I slip into my do-it-yourself mode. And, I can feel peace when I pray through a list of requests and concerns. But I have experienced that Holy Spirit empowerment comes primarily from a different kind of praying, praying in the Spirit (Eph. 6:18).
For me, praying in the Spirit leads me into the Father’s presence where I can be still, rest, and listen. To be clear, this is usually in English but at times it may include a prayer language. Time in the Father’s presence, or in the “inner chamber” (Mt. 6:6), is for sifting through motives (James 4:3) and engaging in peace (Phil. 4:7). Then from the place of peace, I can present requests with faith. When I allow the Holy Spirit to be Lord of my prayers I can intercede effectively and sometimes enter a “groaning” prayer which is unspoken but definitely gripping my spirit with a specific burden, weeping, or overwhelming joy.
Praying in the Spirit most often will leave me feeling refreshed and invigorated but there are times when I just feel spent and drained. Either way appears more productive and valuable.
Learning to hear the voice of the Spirit in the moment of ministry provides prophetic words of knowledge and encouragement with a timely impact. Praying in the Spirit and intentional listening will often reveal insights, vision, and direction. This kind of dunamis is way beyond my own strength and guards my heart in proper peace and humility. This is most strongly noted in ministry cases with a demonic manifestation or when physical healing accompanies the inner healing.
One of the questions I ask many of the people who come to me for counseling and prayer ministry is “how do you hear from God?” For those who have an active prayer life and an engaging personal worship time, I can usually ask the Holy Spirit to give the insight. They will hear or see something clearly right away. Some others need to be coached to trust that what they are sensing is the Holy Spirit’s words. Still others need to be taught about prayer in basic form and that a “conversation” with God means that you have to do some listening. I’ll often explain Ephesians 1:17-19 at that point. The personal revelation they receive may come through scripture or through an insight or impression in the moment.
My part in the process is not to offer a prophetic word until they have tried to hear the Lord for themselves. That way their trust level increases rapidly and fresh faith in prayer arises. When I do offer words of knowledge or discernment, the stage has already been set for them to know that the Holy Spirit loves them and is working in their favor. This kind of profound work requires time praying in the Spirit, resting and listening for my own edification. Praying in the Spirit is a profound way of nurturing and strengthening my soul and spirit.
About the Author
Pastor Mike Henry is retired and living in Wenatchee, Washington, with his wife, Shelley. He continues in prayer ministry and life-coaching. He is involved in leadership development in Mexico and has recently published his first novel.