OLDER CHRISTIANS USED BY GOD - TONGUES
We talked about this subject last week. We talked about the fact that, as we get older and older and older, we have more time in every 24 hours of every day to spend in prayer than all the younger people. They have their jobs, their kids to see to, etc. God delights to use us to partner with Him and pray His will into this earth. We talked about the old, old lady, Anna, from Luke 2 who prayed day and night, in a little corner of the temple area, away from the crowd of people who were always coming there. She gave herself to the Lord to pray His will into the earth, regarding the Messiah. THEN, the Lord rewarded her by having her be one of the only ones on the earth who got to see the BABY JESUS, knowing that He was the Messiah. WHAT A REWARD!
We talked about what real prayer is – spending time with the Lord and His Word, and getting a REAL understanding of who He really is and what He’s like – what His will is – and making ourselves available to Him to pray His will into this earth. We talked about the fact that He gave man authority here on this earth and He will not violate that by just whooshing in and changing everything. We have authority and He wants to use us to pray His will into this earth – for our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, our friends and relatives, the people we don’t know – AND WE OLDER ONES HAVE MORE TIME ON A DAILY BASIS TO SPEND TIME DOING THAT THAN MANY OF THE OTHER CHRISTIANS ON THE EARTH!!!!!
Now – today we going to tackle PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT (OR TONGUES)!!
Now – DOWN TO THE NITTY GRITTY - I’m going to share with you what I have learned about this subject!
I’m going to read from the NKJV – Acts 2:1-4.
1 – When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 – And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3 – Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
4 – And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Now, we all know the story of what happened. All the people – lots and lots of people began to hear them speak in their own language. Now there were people there from many different countries around them – some even further away – and they all began to hear the Gospel – the miraculous story of the Son of God, coming to earth, born as a baby, growing up – sinless and perfect in every way – and dying for humanity – taking all the sins of all the people. They were hearing that all they had to do was believe it and receive for themselves what He had done for them. REMEMBER – GOD HAS PROVIDED IT ALL – BUT MANKIND HAS TO INDIVIDUALLY ACCEPT AND RECEIVE WHAT HE HAS DONE.
WHAT A MIRACLE!
After that encounter, people began to not only believe that Jesus was the Messiah, and, therefore, receive what He had done for them – and be BORN AGAIN – and then RECEIVE THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Just think for a minute about all those people from other places who heard the TRUTH that day and went away to their homeland and told others about it.
Now – I want to read a verse which will help us understand a little more.
1 Corinthians 13:1 (NKJV) – Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
Now a lot of people have been confused by all this but this is what I have learned. There are two kinds of speaking in tongues. One is in the tongues of men – which the speaker does not know in his mind – but others who speak that language can hear and understand.
Then there is speaking in the tongues of angels – which is angelic languages. On the day of Pentecost, men spoke in other tongues than their own – the tongues of men – so they could hear and understand. But the other is angelic languages, or tongues – for speaking in prayer. This kind of praying is therefore available for us to pray – BECAUSE MOST OF THE TIME, INTERCESSION, OR PRAYING FOR OTHERS, IS DIFFICULT FOR US TO PRAY – WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO PRAY THE PERFECT WILL OF GOD FOR THE PEOPLE WE’RE PRAYING FOR – AND GOD HAS GIVEN US THIS WONDERFUL WAY TO PARTNER WITH HIM IN PRAYER.
Now – listen to these two verses – I love, love, love them! I’ve read them hundreds and hundreds of times. It’s Romans 8:26 and 27 in NKJV.
Rom. 8:26 – Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses for we do not know what we should pray for as we ought but the Spirit Himself makes interession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Rom. 8:27 – Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Man – when I began to got ahold of this truth, deep down on the inside of me, it just totally changed my prayer life.
Now – this is what I began to see. When we human beings realize what God has done for us, and we believe in our hearts, and say with our mouths, that Jesus is the Son of God, and we accept Him as our Saviour, we are born again. That means that we have a NEW SPIRIT in tune with God. Now our soul (where our mind, will and emotions are) didn’t get born again – and that’s where renewing our mind comes in. That’s another subject and we’ll talk about that at another time.
Then – when we receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit comes into our life to be our helper and comforter. Oh I am so grateful that I became aware of this. Before I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, praying for other people was so extremely hard – because I really didn’t know how to pray as I ought!! If you’re praying for a loved one, and you’ve been praying for 5 or 10 minutes, you just don’t know what else to say. BUT – I discovered that I could pray with my understanding (my mind) revealing with my words my love for that person, and thanking the Lord for His love for me and for everyone else – then I can begin to pray in tongues, and know that God, who knows the person I’m praying for inside and out, knows exactly every detail of what that person needs, what that person really feels like. He knows the whole situation and every thing that has had an effect on that person, and every detail of what the problem really is.
I discovered that, as I prayed in tongues (in the spirit), I could fix my mind on God and His power and His love. The Lord would begin to bring pictures into my mind of what that individual’s life was going to be like in the future.
Then, there are times when, praying in the spirit, when you find yourself with groanings deep within you and sometimes coming out of your mouth instead of words – and with those groanings comes a passionate compassion for the Lord and for the person I’m praying for.
I have learned that I’m making myself available to God – partnering with Him – and He (through the Person of the Holy Spirit) is causing the WILL OF GOD to come forth from me, a human being on this earth.
The older I’ve gotten, the more time I have to get alone with MY BEST FRIEND, the CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, and just YIELD THE RIGHT OF WAY TO HIM.
Now there’s another verse I want to share with you. It’s Jude 20, NKJV.
But you beloved building yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.
Oh – how I love that verse!!!!!
Brothers and sisters, through the years, I have learned that one of the rewards, the Lord gives to us, for spending time in prayer for others, praying in the Spirit, is for Him to do powerful things on the inside of us that we can’t even explain. There is an attitude of gratefulness, an attitude of joy for all that God has done and is doing – a joy that you just can’t explain! It didn’t come from your earthly life. It’s a spiritual wonder and excitement that is unexplainable! I’ve discovered that HE IS BUILDING ME UP IN MY MOST HOLY FAITH AS I PRAY IN THE SPIRIT! It is truly a spiritual wonder. I have found myself with a powerful awareness of God handling that problem that I’ve been praying about - to the point that, although nothing has changed in the physical world that my mind has been made aware of, deep within me, a PEACE AND COMFORT ABOUT THE WHOLE SITUATION. It is not explainable - but you just know that you know that you know that God Himself is taking charge of the the whole thing - and you’re at peace. That’s what, “BUILDING YOURSELF UP IN YOUR MOST HOLY FAITH,” is all about.
Don’t try to get someone to explain it to you - because they can’t. Don’t try to explain it to someone else - because you can’t.
You talk about being in partnership with the God of the universe!!!!!!!!!!
Now - when I first started to spend some quality time praying in the spirit, after I’d been praying for awhile, I would look at a clock or watch, expecting to see that I’d been praying for an hour. But - No - it hadn’t been that long. I was new at it and I discovered that I had my mind centered in on ME, MY BODY, MY SITUATION, THE PROBLEM, THE PEOPLE, ETC. I learned that I had to get my mind to think different, as I prayed in the spirit.
I think I just heard somebody saying, under their breath, “How do you do that?” Laughing.
Remember - You are a spirit. You have a soul. And you live in a body. You are praying (with the Holy Spirit’s help) in your spirit. You are sitting there in your body (that get’s tired, that has a little ache here or there, gets thirsty, has to go to the bathroom (laughing), needs to walk around, etc. You know that??? You can walk around!!! You can take a drink of water!!! You can even take care of your body’s needs without stopping praying in the spirit. What that does is make your body realize that it’s just the place your soul and spirit live in.
Now - Your soul is where your mind, will and emotions are. If you are praying in the spirit, your mind is going to try to remind you of the problems, of the past situations, of the good things and the bad things and many, many other things. BUT YOU HAVE CONTROL OVER YOUR MIND. So you can fix your attention on the ONE WHO LOVES YOU SO MUCH THAT HE GAVE THE BEST HE HAD SO YOU COULD BE IN HIS FAMILY! HE TOOK ALL YOUR BAD AND GAVE YOU ALL HIS GOOD. You can fix your attention on Him, what He’s like, what Heaven is like, what the Garden of Eden was like, what it’s like to hear the angels singing. You can think about what you are really praying for, regarding the person or persons you are praying for. and begin to imagine them already living as you’re praying for.
I mentioned it last week, but I want to mention it again. Imagination is a very powerful thing. It is closely related to HOPE. We actually use our imagination more than we think we do. Without even realizing what we’re doing, we start imagining BAD THINGS HAPPENING, CARS CRASHING, LOSING LOVED ONES, ETC. When we realize it, we usually try to get those pictures out of our mind because we hate them. The devil loves them and wants to bring more of them to us!
BUT - we have control over our minds. We can choose what we think about and the pictures that we choose to have flowing through our minds. SO - we begin to start imagining what that grandson, who’s gone astray, looks like praising the Lord. I do that! I have a grandson who has turned away from all that he was taught as a child about God. While I’m praying in the spirit for Him, I see him with his hands raised to heaven, praising the Lord. In fact, that picture of him is actually more real to me than the last time I saw him, which was last year. Now, that doesn’t mean I have forgotten what he looks like - it just means that I believe with all my heart that he is coming back to the Lord and it’s more real to me than anything else.
So - I fix my attention IN MY MIND, while I’m praying in tongues, from my spirit, on the answer to the prayer I’m praying - as though it is already a reality. It is already a reality in me.
I have seen many miraculous answers to prayer with just doing this very thing. FAITH ALWAYS FOCUSES ON THE ANSWER - NOT THE PROBLEM!
Now, I want to deal with one little issue that the Lord told me He wanted me to talk about. This may be a little difficult - but it’s something we all have to deal with it. This culture that we live in has become extremely SELF-CENTERED. So much so - that many Christians have just fallen into that way of life and don’t even realize it. Being self-centered in every second of every 24 hour day is dealing with life in every way with how it affects you! I really believe that, in order to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord, we have to be really honest with ourselves and search our own hearts. A self-centered person is a ME- ME - ME - PERSON. IT’S ALL ABOUT ME. HOW I FEEL, WHAT I WANT, WHAT PEOPLE THINK OF ME, AND ON AND ON AND ON.
We just have to come to grips with the fact that AGAPE LOVE (THE GOD KIND OF LOVE) I BELIEVE, IS THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE IN THE UNIVERSE. God’s love is the reason that we’re in this room today - born again human beings - washed in the blood of Jesus - our sin forgiven - adopted into the family of God. His love is in our new born-again spirit. That means that we have in our new spirit the ability to LOVE OTHERS LIKE GOD DOES. Brothers and sisters - that means forgiving people for EVERYTHING they’ve ever said or done to hurt us, or to offend us, and any other thing they’ve done that caused pain on the inside. That ability to forgive and to love is right there in that born again spirit. THIS IS A BIGGIE - I’M GOING TO SAY IT SLOW. JESUS FORGAVE YOU OF ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING AND LOVED YOU SO MUCH THAT HE GAVE TO YOU THE POWER IN YOUR NEW SPIRIT TO LOVE AND FORGIVE THE SAME WAY!!!!!!!
We can’t just take some of the stuff He’s done for us and leave the hard stuff alone. If we do that, it will have an huge effect on our prayer life. When we come to the Lord, yielding the right-of-way to Him and expecting to see wonderful answers to prayer, we must do it God’s way. GOD IS A WONDERFUL, LOVING, FORGIVING, POWERFUL, MIRACOULOUS AND PERSONAL DEITY. IT HAS TO BE DONE HIS WAY, THOUGH!
Every single one of us has been offended or hurt in our lives - some of us a lot - others just here and there. Some from family - some from church people - some from friends - and on and on. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that it was okay for that person to hurt you - It means that you’re not holding it against them anymore - just like God isn’t holding your sin against you anymore. He has wiped the slate clean. You can do the same.
I felt very much led of the Lord to bring this up as we talk about this topic of praying in the spirit, motivated by love. We have all had to deal with this - it’s not just you! God loves us all so much.
So - back to praying in tongues - or in the spirit!
Praying in tongues, or in the Spirit, (both mean the same thing) is one of the most powerful things that the Lord has given to us. When I began to get ahold of the fact that I was an instrument in the hands of God for Him to use here on earth - it was an illumination that caused insight in my life. I was just making myself available to the Creator of the Universe. Authority and power in the earth was given to mankind. God, of very God, will use me as His tool, by the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, praying through me, here on the earth. My brother - my sister - He will use you too. He wants you to know how important you are to Him. However, He won’t violate your free will. You have to yield the right-of-way to Him - or another way to say it is - you have to allow Him to flow through your body here on this earth to bring His will to this earth - for your own life, your kids’ and grand-kids’ lives, for your other family’s lives, for your country and all those in government and on and on and on.
This period of your life is very special to the Lord. When you look in the mirror, sometimes all you see is wrinkly skin, white hair, an aging face, a weakening body……………and on and on. BUT - even though your strength is way less than what it used to be, this is a very special time in your life to the Lord. You’ve got time to spend with Him, being a partner with Him, talking and sharing with Him, praising Him, thanking Him - and actually allowing the third person of the Trinity to bring His will, through your spirit, HERE ON THE EARTH WHERE YOU STILL LIVE!!!!!!!
Now I’m going to quote a verse which is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. I’m sure you’re familiar with it. But I want you to think of it in line with the thing we’re talking about - BEING A PARTNER WITH GOD AND A TOOL IN HIS HANDS TO PRAY HIS WILL INTO THE EARTH. This is Hebrews 13:5 from the Amplified Bible!
“Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money (including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions) and be satisfied with your present (circumstances and with what you have); for He (God) Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake or let you down (relax my hold on you)! Assuredly not!”
Wow-ee - wow - wow!!!!
I’ve said that verse outloud to myself so many times in my life that my whole being responds to those words!
Now, I just have to read the next one as well. Hebrews 13:6 - Amp.
“So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm (I will not fear or dread or be terrified)! What can man do to me? (That’s a quote from Ps. 27:1; and 118:6)
Brothers and Sisters - that’s a wonderful and amazing promise that our Father has given us. I know that sometimes it’s difficult to understand the Trinity. I remember that one song we used to sing years ago:
“Holy, holy, holy - Lord God Almighty,
Early in the morning my song shall rise to Thee;
Cherabim and seraphim bowing down before Thee,
God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity.”
I just picture this ONE WONDERFUL BEING - WHO MANIFESTS HIMSELF IN THREE DIFFERENT WAYS - (FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRT) - YET IS ONE POWERFUL BEING! AND HE LOVES YOU AND ME
He has ways to enlighten us, to reveal to us, to guide us, to hear us, to answer us, to help us, to instruct us - AND - TO USE US.
He wants to use us to bring His will into this earth. Now, of course, He wants to use every single one of His children - but a lot of them just don’t have enough time in their days to just get quiet before Him and partner with Him. BUT OLDER CHRISTIANS OFTEN DO! He doesn’t want us to think of our ourselves as old and useless because we can’t go on mission trips, or work hard at some physical work for the church, or go out to the stores or the streets and witness. Our bodies may not be as able to do all that kind of stuff as much as we used to - BUT - God has a plan for every single one of us. He knows every detail of every one of our lives - our history, our ups and downs, and He wants to use us to partner with Him. Who would have thought?’’
Now, I’m going to suggest that you start a habit pattern that may seem a bit odd to you - but God will love it! When you’re standing, looking in the mirror, brushing your teeth, doing your hair, or whatever - look yourself right into your own eyes and say (outloud or quietly in a whisper) and say to yourself, “I AM AN INSTRUMENT IN THE HANDS OF THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE. HE’S NOT DONE WITH ME YET. HE’LL LET ME KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME TO COME TO HIM. BUT FOR NOW, HE WANTS ME TO PARTNER WITH HIM. I’M GOING TO PRAY HIS WILL INTO THIS EARTH!”
Now for some, that may seem like a strange thing to do. But you have to begin to see yourself that way. Now, if you’ve already been praying a lot, say that anyway. I believe He will bring new insight into your life. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again, the more I pray in the spirit, the more He rewards me by showing me stuff that helps me understand and helps me.
Don’t feel like this is a some legalistic ritual or something. It is not! It’s just fellow-shipping and being in union with the One Who Gave It All For You. It’s about loving your family and friends.
Anybody have any questions - or any testimonies about how God has used you in this realm of praying in the Spirit - or about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?
Scriptures used in this lesson
1 Corinthians 13:1