Praying Lesson 12: Prayer as an Expression of Spirituality

Lesson 12: Prayer as an Expression of Spirituality

Spirituality is a broad concept. People from nearly all religious traditions, and even secularists and atheists, may think of themselves as “spiritual” in some sense of the word. Christian spirituality, of course, is distinct from other forms of spirituality. How does prayer fit into Christian spirituality?


  1. Definitions
    1. The Gk. word for “spiritual” is pneumatikos. It’s the word for spirit (pneuma) and a suffix –ikos which denotes “pertaining to.” Thus, pneumatikos / spiritual means pertaining to the Spirit.
    2. The word conveys the sense of belonging to the realm of Holy Spirit or being under the control of the Holy Spirit. One who is led by the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, and displaying the fruit of the Spirit could be called spiritual.
    3. Ephesians 5:18 contrasts drunkenness and Spirit-filling. Just as a drunken person is controlled by the liquor which he consumes, so a Spirit-filled Christian is controlled by the Spirit. This will cause him to act in ways which are unnatural to him, not erratic or abnormal, but not the ways of the old life. Control by the Spirit is a necessary part of spirituality.[1]
    4. The Holy Spirit ministers to the believer in various ways: teaching (John 16:12–15), guiding (Rom 8:14), assuring (Rom 8:16), interceding (Rom 8:26), imparting spiritual gifts (1 Cor 12:7), battling the flesh (Gal 5:17), and all of these depend on the filling of the Spirit (Eph 5:18).
    5. The spiritual man is the Christian’s ideal or goal. Essentially, spirituality is Christian maturity, Christian adulthood. The goal or pattern to strive for is maturity in the faith.
  2. </span></div><div style=”text-indent: 18pt; margin-left: 18pt; margin-right: 18pt; margin-bottom: 3pt; position: static; “><span style=”text-indent: 18pt; position: static; “>TheSince malkjsSinceSinceSpirituality and prayer
    1. Prayer is obviously a spiritual, as opposed to secular, activity. If one does not believe in a supernatural realm, he will never pray. If spirituality is control by the Holy Spirit, then those under His control will pray. People who are led by the Holy Spirit pray. Since Christian maturity would include regular times of prayer, one cannot be mature in the faith if he does not pray.

Eph 6:18  through every prayer and petition, praying in every season in the Spirit, being watchful to this same thing with all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints.

Php 1:19  For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

  1. Prayer is a mark of Christian maturity.
    1. Christian maturity develops through prayer. One must pray in order to grow and mature as a believer. The strongest Christians are those who pray much.
    2. Mature Christian people handle life situations with prayer. Prayer is an essential response to the ups and downs of life. Prayer is appropriate in times of joy and thanksgiving as well as in times of grief and pain. Prayer accompanies all events in the life of a mature Christian.
    3. One of the weaknesses of immature Christianity is a lack of prayer, or at least a lack of consistent prayer. Those who don’t make prayer an essential part of their lives cannot mature in the Christian life.
    4. Prayer requires trust in God. “He that cometh to God must believe that he is” (Heb 11:1). We come to God in prayer believing that he is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph 3:20). We come boldly before the throne of grace (Heb 4:16) to make our requests (Phil 4:6) because we believe that God hears us and has the power to change things. Mature Christians cast their cares upon the Lord (Ps 55:22; 1 Pet 5:7) and experience the “peace that passeth all understanding” (Phil 4:7) as a result.
    5. Prayer is seeking the Lord. God repeatedly invites believers to seek him (Isa 55:6; Heb 11:1). One of the ways we do this is through prayer. In prayer we present our requests to God, but our attitude should always be “thy will be done” (Mt 6:10; cf. James 4:15). The glory of God should be our primary goal. We should desire that God would get the honor and praise through the granting of our requests.

2 Chron 7:14If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

  1. Prayer is worship. Our expressions of adoration, praise, thanksgiving, and supplication to God are key elements of Christian spirituality. We worship God through prayer.
  2. Prayer is congregational. A significant expression of Christian spirituality is congregational prayer. We should follow the pattern of the early church by continuing steadfast in prayer (Acts 2:42). The church should pray “without ceasing” for the needs of its members (Acts 12:5; cf. James 5:14). The church should pray that “the word of the Lord may have free course [lit. “run”], and be glorified” (2 Th 3:1) as more laborers go out into the harvest fields (Mt 9:38).

 

 



[1]Ryrie, “What is Spirituality?” Bibliotheca Sacra (Vol. 126, Page 204-205). Dallas Theological Seminary.

 

Lessons in this Course
Table of Contents
Prayer Lesson 1: The Importance of Prayer
Prayer Lesson 2: Overcoming the Difficulties of Prayer
Prayer Lesson 3: What is Prayer?
Prayer Lesson 4: Our Perspective on Prayer
Praying Lesson 5: Praying in Jesus’ Name
Praying Lesson 6: How Not to Pray
Praying Lesson 7: The Model Prayer Matt 6:9-15
Praying Lesson 8: Pray-ers that Pleases God
Praying Lesson 9: Persistence in Prayer
Praying Lesson 10: Learning from Paul’s Prayers
Praying Lesson 11: Learning from OT Prayers
Praying Lesson 12: Prayer as an Expression of Spirituality
Praying Lesson 13: The Five Different Kinds of Prayer in the Psalms
Praying Lesson 14: Prerequisites to Effective Prayer
Praying Lesson 15: Prayer and Fasting

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