Summary: A classic sermon by Dr. Adrian Rogers giving guidance on how to pray and what can impede our prayers.

This sermon from the Adrian Rogers Legacy Library © 2010 Rogers Family Trust. Used by permission.,

Turn to the book of James, would you please for just a moment, the book of James chapter 4, and you will remember this morning we were preaching on triumphant prayer. Prayer that prevails, and we gave you some principles of prayer that cannot be denied. And, among those principles was a very vital principle that we call sensitivity to the Spirit. Look in James chapter 4, and verse 5. James chapter 4 and verse 5: “Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?” (James 4:5).

Now, while that verse is somewhat hard to interpret, what it really means is this: I’m convinced, that the Holy Spirit within us is very, very jealous for the cause of Christ. And, the Scripture says that over and over again, that God has given the Holy Spirit to us and the Holy Spirit within us is there to glorify Christ and to promote the cause of Christ. And, it is absolutely essential that you understand this if you are to pray vitally, because this is what we call praying in the Spirit. And, so that’s what we’re going to be talking about tonight, “How to Pray in the Spirit.”

And, tonight I want us to think about the Holy Spirit’s ministry, first of all to us, and then secondly the Holy Spirit’s ministry through us, as we’re talking about praying in the Spirit.

Incidentally, I would like you to check these three other verses of Scripture before

we get into the message. You might write it down there in the margin by James, or you might just want to turn to it. But, look please in Ephesians. Ephesians chapter 6, and verse 18. Ephesians chapter 6, and verse 18. There the Bible gives us this admonition, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…” (Ephesians 6:18). Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.

I. The Holy Spirit’s Ministry

All right now, I want you to jot down this verse. In Jude, verse 20. There’s no chapter because there’s only one chapter in Jude, so we don’t give you a chapter designation, just the book and the verse. Listen to it. Jude, next to the last book in the Bible. Jude verse 20: “But ye beloved, building up yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20). Praying in the Holy Spirit. Again, prayer in the Spirit is mentioned.

Now, the third Scripture that I want you to notice in conjunction with the Scripture in James is found in Romans chapter 8, beginning in verse 25—excuse me, verse 26: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself”—and may I pause here to say that itself is a poor translation, it could be and should be interpreted, “but the Spirit Himself”—“maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he”—the Spirit—“maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26–27).

A. Prayer is our Greatest Christian Privilege

May I say ladies and gentlemen, that prayer is the greatest Christian privilege that we have? Of all of the privileges that God has given us, beyond a shadow of any doubt and without any peradventure or argument, prayer is our greatest Christian privilege. And, the need of the hour is for loving prayer, laboring prayer, lingering prayer, listening prayer.

B. Prayer is our Greatest Christian Service

But, not only is prayer our greatest Christian privilege. Prayer is also our greatest Christian service. Too many times we think of prayer as the means of getting ready to serve God rather than as the means of serving God. So many times we think if we pray, then we can serve God better. But, my friend, may I tell you that you are serving God when you pray. And, those of you who are bound, and shut in, and can’t do other things, you say, “I can’t serve the Lord.” You can pray can’t you? And, if you pray, you’re serving the Lord.

C. Prayer is our Greatest Christian Failure

All right, but may I say that not only is prayer the greatest Christian privilege, and not only is prayer the greatest Christian service, but alas, prayer so frequently is the greatest Christian failure. We pray but our prayers are not answered.

Isaiah chapter 1, and verse 15. God spoke to Isaiah’s generation, and said, “And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear…” (Isaiah 1:15). Now, this is strange, for God wants to answer our prayers. And, yet God says they’re certain situations in which He turns His face away. And, God says in spite of the palpation of our prayers, He will not hear.

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