Discerning Between Soul and Spirit (Part 5) — Prayer

For the word of God is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, … and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.
— Hebrews 4:12, 13

In our last post, we identified telltale signs that our prayers are soul-fueled, rather than stemming from communication with the Holy Spirit. In this post, we’ll talk about how Spirit-led prayer feels and sounds.

1.) Spirit-led prayer agrees with the nature of God in its tone — righteousness, peace, joy, mercy, compassion, love, goodness. These qualities are quite opposite to the fear, self-centeredness, criticalness, and anger which often accompany soulish prayers.

Prayer which flows with the Spirit is redemptive in its approach, which means that its goals will be salvation, freedom for those in bondage, and good to be worked in the earth and in the hearts of people. Even if we are praying for corruption or deception to be exposed, we take no delight in judgment or exposure for its own sake. It is so that the perpetrators of evil can come to repentance, and truth and righteousness can prevail in society.

The following verses give us a good idea of what praying in harmony with the Spirit looks like:

  • Galatians 5:22, 23
  • Philippians 4:8
  • Exodus 34: 6, 7
  • James 3:17

Study them, to find out what God’s heart is for our prayers.

2.) Spirit-led prayers are not products of preplanned logic. They often appear as a sudden thought or prompting which is not due to our own cleverness. Frequently they are surprising; we pray them and then think, “Now where did that come from?” It came from the Holy Spirit, Who shows us His vantage point, which is far beyond ours.

3.) Spirit-led prayers are often inspired by a Bible verse which comes to mind. Pray that verse from a position of “It is written,” and then declare it with authority for the situation. As Hebrews 4:12 tells us, the Word is living and powerful. It cuts through the fluff to go to the root of what needs to be prayed. God will sometimes give you a verse and show you how to apply it to prayer in a way your mind would never be able to come up with on its own.

4.) Spirit-led prayers frequently incorporate the gifts of the Spirit.

  • The word of knowledge — You suddenly know what the root issue is, whereas you didn’t before.
  • The word of wisdom — You receive a solution you hadn’t previously thought of.
  • Prophecy — You are certain of the outcome God wants, and you declare prophetically that it shall be.
  • Supernatural faith — You boldly command or decree a miraculous result into existence as the Spirit moves upon you, and it happens.
  • Discerning of spirits — You see, hear, or just know that a particular spirit is behind a hindrance. You then break the hindrance by commanding the spirit to let go or leave, in the name of Jesus.
  • Praying in tongues — the perfect prayers of the Holy Spirit
  • The interpretation of tongues — You hear in your spirit or coming from your mouth what you have been praying about in your prayer language. He shows you the exact way to pray into the need.

We grow in Spirit-inspired praying through cultivating intimacy with God via two primary means:

  • Two-way prayer communication with Him (meaning we not only talk, but we listen)
  • Communing with God over His Word (Bible meditation, study, reading at length, and dialoguing with Him over what we have read)

John 15:7 explains this two-pronged approach to intimacy with God and its outcome: “If you abide in Me [prayer communication lived out moment by moment], and My words abide in you [the Bible filling our innermost being with life], you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you.”

The last part of that verse is God’s promise to the person who prays by communing in his spirit with the Holy Spirit: whatever we ask for, we receive. God can promise this because the one who is abiding in the Presence of God and who is filled with His Word will be praying by the Spirit. We only ask for what is His will, and therefore our requests are granted. The potential we have to obtain powerful answers is truly exciting — if we pray by communion with the Spirit, rather than from our own natural understanding.

Will we pray by the soul or the spirit — in tune with the Holy Spirit and being led by Him, or only praying what we know in our intellect? It’s our choice.

Let’s review one last time the keys to discerning soul between soul and spirit in the words of others, in our own thoughts, and in our prayers:

  1. Feed on the Word of God, letting its truths influence our minds, rather than feeding on the opinions of men.
  2. Seek God continually for greater wisdom and discernment, so that we are not fooled.
  3. Once we have determined that someone is speaking from a soulish perspective, no longer subject ourselves to his or her influence.

If we implement these keys, our discernment will grow, and we will clearly know the origins of whatever comes our way.

Previous: Discerning Between Soul & Spirit (Part 4) — Prayer

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2 responses to “Discerning Between Soul and Spirit (Part 5) — Prayer

  1. Lee Ann,
    Tremendous amount of “meat” to chew on and digest !
    Thank you & continued Blessings!


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