“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,” Ephesians 6:18.
To pray in the spirit is to pray in harmony with the power and doctrines of God, praying prayers that are in harmony with the heart of God. James 4:3 shows us an example of what it looks like to NOT pray in harmony with the heart of God: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
Jesus taught, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples,” John 15:7-8. The condition of answered prayer occurs when the word and mind of Christ is exercised in our prayers. Jesus delighted in the will of God, and every prayer of his was in harmony with that will. Psalm 40:6-8 “Delight yourselves in the LORD; and He will give thee the desires of your heart,” Psalm 37:4.
Additionally, prayer requests need to be made in the name of – by the authority of – our Precious Savior. “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it,” John 14:13-14 (NKJV).
One of the best ways to make sure we are praying in the spirit and in the will of God is to pray scripture. Pray Psalm 19:12 &14, “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults… May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer.”
As we become aware of the needs and challenges of our brethren, we may ask the Lord to direct us to a scripture to pray on their behalf. We may also ask for a verse to claim in the midst of our own spiritual needs.
When we renew our thinking to delight in the LORD and to be thankful for Who He is and all He stands for, then that prayer will be in harmony with His spirit. That will be a prayer that God will delight to answer.