April 15: The missing person in Prayer… How on earth can I pray?

Harold Vaughan
Harold Vaughan

Most cities now have signs posting Amber Alerts to help authorities rescue children who have been abducted. At any given time there are approximately 90,000 missing persons in the U.S.

Pastors are cancelling mid-week Prayer Meetings because of missing persons—church members have stopped attending. But the missing person I’m referring to is not the deacon, Sunday-School teacher, or church member. The missing PERSON in prayer is the HOLY SPIRIT!

When Jesus died on Calvary, He “gave up the ghost” (Mark 15:37). When the spirit left His body, He died. When the Spirit leaves the prayer meeting, it dies. How many churches have “given up the ghost” (that is the Holy Ghost)? Without the animating “Spirit”, a “church body” simply cannot and will not pray.

On the individual level, as well as the corporate level, there will be no genuine prayer apart from the Holy Spirit. Samuel Chadwick stated, “Prayer is an impossible task without the Holy Ghost.” In the Book of Acts we find 38 references to prayer and 53 references to the Holy Spirit. Their amazing vibrancy in prayer was due to the preeminence of the Holy Spirit “in” and “among” the early church.

The New Testament makes an undeniable connection between the Holy Spirit and prayer:

(Rom. 8:15) “But ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father”
(Eph. 6:18) “Praying always…in the Spirit
(Jude 20) “Praying in the Holy Ghost”
(Rom 8:26) “We know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession…”
We have heard many sermons on the…

Need of prayer…
Discipline of prayer…
Components of prayer…
Benefits of prayer…
Power of prayer…
but not many messages on the Person of Prayer. Our entire spiritual existence hinges on our relationship with the Spirit of Christ.

Is it fair to say that the Holy Spirit is the neglected member of the Trinity? In the last 30 days, how often have you thought about, acknowledged, honored, and consulted the Holy Spirit? Have you ignored and forgotten Him?

It would be preposterous to claim close friendship with an individual, but never speak with them. We talk to the people we know and love. Paul closed out his epistle to the Corinthians with these words: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ…and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all” (2 Cor. 13:14). This verse instructs us to have communion (fellowship) with the Holy Spirit. How can you have communion with a Person without communicating with Him? The Spirit is not only with you—He is literally inside of you. When was the last time you acknowledged His presence within? When was the last time you spoke with the Holy Spirit?

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself…He shall glorify me…” (John 16:13-14). The phrase “He shall not speak of Himself” has been misapplied. A lot of us have been taught that the Spirit does not speak of Himself—He only speaks of Christ. But that is not true. The Holy Spirit wrote the Bible, so obviously He said a lot “about” Himself. Rick Flanders is helpful here: “The mistake in interpreting this verse is in taking “of himself” as meaning “about himself.” The meaning of the word, both the Greek and in the English of John 16:13 is “from” instead of “about.” Can you see this in the passage? The Holy Spirit would be speaking, not from Himself alone, but from the entire Trinity of God.” This passage does not teach that the Spirit is reluctant to speak about Himself, nor that we should be reluctant to speak of Him. The Holy Spirit is Almighty God and as such should never be diminished, slighted, or disregarded. To neglect one member of the Trinity dishonors the other two, because God is one.

Jesus instructed us to pray—“Our Father” (Matt. 6:9). Jesus encouraged believers to pray ‘in His name’ (John 14:13). But I find no scripture that forbids speaking to God the Spirit. H. A. Ironside said, “The Christian must be prayerful in the Holy Spirit. He must take time to speak to the One who speaks to him in the written Word.”

Many years ago, John R. Rice was preaching at a conference when he opened his address with this prayer: “Oh Father, breathe on me. Lord Jesus, help me to preach tonight. Holy Spirit, give me power.”Immediately afterwards a young preacher chastised Brother Rice saying “You made a serious mistake when you prayed. The proper procedure is to pray to the Father through the Son and in the Spirit.” Dr. Rice looked at him with a sheepish grin and replied, “Son, I’ve been in that family a long time. I know them all personally.”

The Holy Spirit is God. Nowhere in Scripture is He called the “third Person” of the Trinity, as if He were a lesser member in the Godhead. He is called the “Spirit of God” (Rom. 8:9). He is named the “Spirit of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:11). He is mentioned in at least 207 verses in the New Testament alone. Sounds like a TREMENDOUS emphasis on this neglected member of the Godhead! The question is: should the excesses and abuses of some cause us to give a lesser place to the Spirit than the Bible does? Rather than get wrapped around the axle on technicalities, would it not be better to welcome the PERSON of prayer back into your heart, and the prayer meetings at your church?

To live neglecting the Spirit of God reduces life to drudgery and duty.

This article is used by permission from Harold Vaughan. After graduating from Bible College in 1979, Harold Vaughan immediately began full-time evangelism. To date, Christ Life Ministries has led him to preach in forty-eight states and many foreign countries. Shortly after entering full-time evangelism in 1979, Harold and his wife Debbie were married. Debbie works in the CLM office and maintains their home. During the Revival Summits she ministers with the children ages 4-9 in a nightly Kid’s Klub. Harold and Debbie have three grown sons. Michael and his wife, Laura have two children – John and Asa. Brandon and his wife Ashley have three children – Sara, Hope and Noah. Stephen married his wife, Emily in 2015.

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