Over this and the next few readings I want to mention briefly some features of praying in the Spirit. The first feature to note is that such prayer will be scriptural. By this I mean that the Christian who prays in this way has learned to pray from the examples of prayer that are given in the Bible.
In Ephesians 1:15-19 and 3:14-19 are two prayers by Paul for his readers (it has been noted that 31 of the 155 verses in Ephesians are connected to prayer). Recall what he prayed for. In the first prayer, he asks that God would give to the Ephesian Christians a greater knowledge of himself that would lead them to know three spiritual blessings: their hope, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and the immeasurable greatness of his power. These are marvellous requests to use when interceding for one another. I wonder what the result would be if each of us were to pray throughout this week that every person in our church would experience these three blessings.
In the second prayer, Paul asks God to strengthen his readers by the Spirit to enable them know in their inner lives the surpassing greatness of Christ’s love. That, too, is a great request to make for one another.
There are prayers of Paul in each of his letters, and they are models to us in how to pray. Another scriptural set of prayers is the psalms. In them, there are prayers of doxology, prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of intercession, and prayers of confession of sin. It is appropriate for us to take these psalms and make them our own prayers. For example, when we are confessing our sin, we can use the words of Psalm 51. We probably will not be guilty of the sins that David had committed in connection to this psalm, but we can use his words to express how we feel about our own sins. The Spirit gave these prayers to his people for them to use when praying.