How to Pray in the Holy Spirit

It seems like a simple question. And, you’re right! It should be. God’s way is not only perfect, it’s simple and practical. He gives us instructions and the opportunity to follow them in faith. When we do, we get the promised results every time.

Jesus told the disciples in John 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” It’s that simple.

And we can all trust the words of Jesus, right? He said the Holy Spirit would teach us all things and bring all things to our remembrance. I take that not only for the things I have read in God’s Word, but anything of value I have heard. I believe things will be brought back to my memory at the proper time—even the name of a person I met three weeks ago. As we launch into this, I want you to keep a childlike mind. Don’t over analyze or over spiritualize this.

Praying in the Spirit is easy because you are a spirit. It is the language of God and you are made in His image. You look like Him, and you should sound like Him as well. You should know every way of getting in touch with Him, just as you know all the ways to reach your closest loved ones.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

After Jesus’ resurrection in Luke 24, He gave the disciples some final instructions—simple instructions. He told them to stay in the city because He was going to send them what had been promised of the Father. He said he was going to send them power from on high (v.49). The disciples did not question or try to psychoanalyze this; they stayed continually at the temple praising God (v.53). Now, let’s look at Acts.
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk[b] from the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.—Acts 1:12-14; 2:1-4
Besides the obvious, there are two more things I want you to notice about this miracle. First, as with every miracle in the Word, it is preceded by human action. Not just any action, obedient action by faith. Additionally, all of them were filled! Not just the original disciples and not just the men. Later in Acts, gentiles also received this gift. So right from the start, God eradicates the idea that this gift of the Spirit was only for certain people. The steps are simple—are you ready to receive?


  • Step one. Ask God for the gift. Jesus said in Luke  11:13, "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"


  • Step two. Praise God for the gift! Yes, it’s that simple. Remember what I've been telling you from the start. Look back at Luke 24:53. They continually praised God.


  • Step three. Get your spirit, soul and body on one accord (Acts 2:1). Basically, your thoughts and actions should line up with what you want and what your spirit needs. For example, if you wanted to lose 20 pounds, would you keep eating fast food and being sedentary? Keep your childlike faith and get yourself on one accord.


  • Step four. Receive it. As you pray the Psalms or simply thank God for His goodness, begin to sing your own song to Him. Begin to speak from your Spirit—the language is there, you just have to let it flow. Don’t let your natural ears deter you (or the enemy either for that matter!). It may sound and feel strange at first, but remember you are not of this world anyway! The more you hear the sound, the more comfortable you’ll become speaking. The presence of God will become more tangible to you. Do this wherever you feel comfortable. It could be in a worship service, in your kitchen or driving on the interstate (keep your eyes open while driving!). That’s simple enough—now take action.

Pitfalls and Further Instructions

When you are initially baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of tongues, it will probably be a very emotionally moving experience. However, it will not be that way every time you speak in tongues. I pray this way daily, but I’m not crying or getting goose bumps everyday. It’s just like praying in your native language, sometimes you really sense God’s presence and other times you don’t. In fact, simply look at it that way—you’ve become bilingual.

Another practical piece of advice it this, don’t become a spiritual weirdo. We want to make disciples, not scare them off! Unless someone is comfortable with you praying in tongues around them, don’t. Here I’m speaking of situations in which you may be praying for an unbeliever. Inappropriate use of tongues can even stunt the growth of a new believer. If all you ever do is pray in the Spirit or go around talking about what the Spirit told you, you will put others off. This can create an inferiority complex or confuse the thinking of another person. Paul said, "But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue" (1 Corinthians 14:19). When you’re alone or in the company of someone in agreement, pray in tongues all you want, but use wisdom. We’ll study this more in another article.

Finally, don’t expect to hear instructions right away or on every detail of your life. Again, this is not complicated. Just live your life as you know to live it according to God’s Word. Remember and meditate on the verses above. He’s our guide; He knows all things. This means if we are headed in the wrong direction, He will point us to the right way—He won’t force us. Or, if we need help with a difficult decision, He’ll give us peace when we make the right choice. The more we follow His lead, the better we’ll become. Soon, you’ll be as I mentioned in a previous article—asking the Holy Spirit to help you find a lost toy!

The steps are simple: ask, praise God, get on one accord and receive! Then leave your praise reports as comments on this page! I’m excited for you already!

Be blessed friends, and have the perfect day everyday!

Psalm 138:8

---Shon Stevens is a writer and professional fitness instructor. Shon lives in Texas with her husband and two children.

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