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Spiritual Warfare and Unity

In my last post, I showed how when I pray in the spirit, I align my spirit with the Holy Spirit.  I used the illustration of a fan in a field.  This is an important concept in understanding spiritual warfare in the church.

I’ll now continue with a deeper truth.  It all begins when you come along into this illustration.  Let’s say that we’re together.  I’m praying in the spirit and then you begin to pray in the spirit.  We’re now together praying in the spirit.

At that point, I’m one with the Holy Spirit, and you’re one with that same Holy Spirit.  Our two separate spiritual “winds” are now consumed by the wind of the Holy Spirit.

So as we all come together to pray in the spirit, we create a spirit (or “wind”) of unity.  This is the unity of the spirit.  The incredible truth is that as we pray in the spirit together we align with the Spirit of God AND with each other.

Think about some of the great spiritual movements of recent history.  Moves like what happened at the Azuza Street Mission, in California.  According to the reports, rich and poor, black and white, it made no difference, as people from all backgrounds came together into unity.  This was not achieved by willpower or a decision to agree – but by the Spirit.

More recently, think about the Charismatic renewal.  Denominations that never spoke to each other came together in unity as they prayed together in the spirit.  This could only have been accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I believe that both of these moves of God were orchestrated by Him to bring His church into unity for the end-time harvest.  I also believe that the Lord is going to do it again in the near future, only this time with a church that understands the importance.

There is, however, an even deeper work that the Lord wants to do through corporate prayer in the spirit.  The question is; how does this tie into Spiritual Warfare.  For the answer to this, we need to go back to Ephesians, chapter 6.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Ephesians 6:18

Most of us know this section of Scripture pretty well.  It’s in the passage that deals with the Armor of God.  This section literally says to pray in the spirit, sleeplessly watching, and persevere at it.  I always thought that this was an interesting verse, especially since it concluded the section on spiritual warfare.  Keep this in mind.

Now we will go to the book of Jude.

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit…
Jude 20 (NKJV)

Jude is telling us to strengthen our inner man by praying in the spirit.  Here’s where it starts to get interesting.  To find the reason for Jude’s writing of this short letter we must go to verse 3.

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
Jude 1:3

According to Jude’s own words, he started out just wanting to write a light letter of encouragement.  It would have been a short word about the salvation that we all share.  But the Holy Spirit had other plans.

The Spirit of God moved upon Jude to change the course of his writing.  He says that he felt like he had to write about CONTENDINGfighting, struggling, wrestling – for the faith.  It so happens, that Jude uses the same Greek word here that Paul used when he said that we struggle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers (Ephesians 6:12).

There are also some differences between the two writers.  Paul was writing about contending against spiritual forces.  Jude, on the other hand, was dealing with the struggle against false teachers.  But it’s the similarities that caught me off guard.

Here we see two very different writers talking about the fight of faith.  In both cases, they conclude with PRAY IN THE SPIRIT.  It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see that there’s a connection.  Somehow our spiritual struggle requires prayer in the spirit.

Question: Why do we need unity for the fight of faith?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Equipped by Prayer in the Spirit

In my last post, we saw that we receive the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit as we pray in the spirit.  In today’s post, I want to show that this is not just a singular occurrence in Scripture.

We are in a spiritual struggle against unseen forces.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12

Contrary to how some people act, our fight is not against people.  As followers of Christ, we’re not struggling against political parties, social issues, or those we see as “sinners”.  The real enemy is the spiritual kingdom that enslaves those in the world system.

We’re in this battle whether we want it or not.  So, we’re told that we need to be spiritually prepared for the struggle.  We’re given the explanation of the armor and Paul concludes in verse 18 by giving us the means by which we arm ourselves – prayer in the spirit.

However, this isn’t the only section of Scripture that talks about our warfare.

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
Jude 3

Jude was one of the early leaders of the church.  He was a half-brother of Jesus who became a believer after the resurrection.

In this short letter, he explains that he simply wanted to write a brief word of encouragement.  He wanted to bless and uplift those who would receive it.

Instead, once he sat down to write, the Holy Spirit grabbed his attention and caused him to speak of the spiritual battle.  Jude felt the urgency to warn them to diligently contend for the faith.

In Ephesians, Paul was contending against demonic forces.  Jude is contending against false teachings.  But in both cases, they equipped themselves for battle the same way.

Look at Jude’s concluding remarks.

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.
Jude 20

It’s important to note here that the word, “and”, does not appear in the original Greek text.  It should actually be translated, build yourselves up in your most holy faith praying in the Holy Spirit.

We face battles every day.  There are many directions that the attack may come from.  It could be our flesh, the world system, or the demonic kingdom.

In all cases, we prepare for this struggle in the same way.  Both Paul and Jude talked about their battles.  They were two different people in two different struggles.  Yet they both concluded that it was prayer in the spirit that would prepare them for victory.

I don’t know how anybody could read this and say that the gift of tongues is not for today.  We can’t win the victory without it.

They try to justify it by saying that they can pray in the spirit in English – or whatever their native language is.

For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.
1 Corinthians 14:14

Paul makes it clear that praying in tongues is praying in the spirit.  If you’re using your mind to come up with the words, you’re not praying in the spirit.

Prepare for the battles you’re about to face.  Spend some quality time praying in the spirit.

Question: How much time are you spending in prayer for 2020?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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How to Build Yourself Up

Many people ask why prayer in the spirit is so important.  Very often, it’s used as a spiritual toy that we only take out to play with on Sunday mornings.  Scripture lets us know that it’s much more than that.

But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
1 Corinthians 14:3-4

I’ve heard others talk about this passage of Scripture.  As I’ve said before, some think it means, “Prophecy good, tongues bad.”  The truth of the matter is that these are two totally different gifts that are to be used for two totally different purposes.

The reason God gives you the gift of this spiritual language is to edify you!  The word, edify, literally means to build up.  I can’t serve God without constantly being built up on the inside.  One of the most important reasons that God has given us this gift is so that we can regularly strengthen ourselves by the spirit.

Look at what Paul says further down in this chapter.

For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.
1 Corinthians 14:14

This verse tells us that it’s our spirit, not our mouth that’s doing the praying.  My mind doesn’t understand what’s taking place.  This is because the communication that’s going on is spiritual.  At one point the Lord gave me an excellent illustration to emphasize this truth.

During a sermon when I was speaking on this topic, I asked my Assistant Pastor to come up front to help me demonstrate.  I gave him no prior warning as to what would be happening.  I then gave him a CD player and told him to place the earphones on.

I told him and the congregation, that when I press the play button, my assistant would hear a pastor preaching a salvation message.  What I wanted my assistant to do was to speak out loud exactly what the pastor on the CD was saying, word for word.  The result got quite a reaction.  This was because the pastor on the CD was preaching in the Korean language!

This is a beautiful picture of what happens when we pray in the spirit.  Your mind hears your spirit praying in a language it doesn’t recognize – the language of the spirit.  It tries to mimic it with your mouth but only ends up sounding unintelligible.

This is why what we hear coming out of someone’s mouth doesn’t always parallel what’s said by the gift of interpretation.  Your spirit might be interceding for a need, while your mouth is merely saying “Praise the Lord” over and over again in Russian.

It’s interesting to note here exactly what the gift of interpretation is as mentioned in the Bible.  The word the Apostle used means to put into words.  Basically, this means that the message we hear by the gift of interpretation was not in words until it was interpreted.  This goes right along with the truth that it’s our spirit praying and not our mouth.

This is also why the gift of tongues will cease after the resurrection.  The only reason that we speak this way during the use of the gift is that our minds don’t grasp what’s taking place in our spirit.  After the resurrection, we’ll still communicate with God in the spirit, but because our mind and body will be perfected, it will not have this outward effect anymore.

Question: How have you been built up by praying in the spirit?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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It’s All About Control

Lion2I’m taking a few posts to talk about why God has chosen the gift of tongues as a way to worship Him.

For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.
1 Corinthians 14:14

Paul shows us three things in this short verse. First, my body is speaking in an unknown language. At the same time, my mind is unfruitful. But the most important aspect is the fact that my spirit is praying to God.

Notice that when I pray in the spirit, my spirit and body are active, but my mind is not a part of what’s transpiring. That’s because the gift of tongues is a physical reaction to a spiritual event. My flesh doesn’t know how to handle what’s happening with me in the spirit.

According to this verse, what comes out of my mouth may or may not have anything to do with what’s happening in the spirit. That includes the length of the “conversation”, any repetition, the language, or even the physical words spoken.

For instance; as my spirit is praying to God, a Native American may hear “Praise God, praise God, praise God” coming out of my mouth.

Prayer in the spirit – tongues – is for a spiritual exchange. It’s all about communication with the Holy Spirit of God. I can say “praise God” well enough in English. So it’s not about what’s coming out of my mouth.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
1 Corinthians 13:8

That’s why the gift of tongues is only a temporary gifting. It will be unneeded in our resurrected body. We need this supernatural gift right now.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
James 3:7-8

Our tongue can be a big problem. According to James, animals can be tamed; but you can’t tame the tongue.

What’s the difference between something tame and something wild? Tame is about character. A tame dog scratches at the door when he needs to relieve himself. He’ll wait for you to feed him.

With a wild animal it’s all instinct. They’ll do what they want whenever or wherever they are.

I’d like my tongue to be self-controlled. But it’s not going to happen all by itself.

Is a lion in a zoo tame? No; it’s simply being controlled. The fact is, you can’t tame the tongue, but it can be controlled…if you’ll let God have control of your tongue. Then the rest of your life is easy to turn over.

Have you ever noticed how easily we’ll give over control of most things to others? We’ll let hair stylists, beauticians, surgeons, and trainers take over those areas of our lives. But not the tongue.

I believe that’s why this gift is so controversial. I’ve heard people say, “Even if you convince me it’s of God, I’m still not going to seek this gift.”

That’s because tongues is about giving control to God. Prayer in the spirit is about learning to hear and yield to God. When it comes to control; that’s the one thing we don’t want to relinquish in our lives.

As believers we should be daily giving over more and more control to the Holy Spirit.

Question: How has prayer in the spirit positively changed your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2016 in Prayer in the Spirit, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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