Dearly Beloved in Yeshua,
The Giving of the Holy Spirit
As we celebrate Shavuot שבועות (sha-voo-OAT) this year, also known as the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, the Lord is leading us to examine the fulfillment of this important feast of the Lord with emphasis on the Holy Spirit and prayer. It is traditionally believed, by calculating the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to Mt. Sinai, that God gave the Law—His Torah תורה (toe-RAH)—to His people on Shavuot. The disciples of Yeshua were celebrating this pilgrim feast in an upper room when God sent His Spirit upon them. The resurrected Messiah had been taken up to heaven, but, before He ascended, He instructed His talmidim תלמידים (tal-mee-DEEM) to wait for the GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Wait, how? IN PRAYER. TEN DAYS OF PRAYER. THEN THE SPIRIT CAME WITH A MIGHTY RUSHING WIND AND TONGUES OF FIRE.
“Come, Holy Spirit, Teach Us to Pray”
Our prayer coordinator at Temple Aron HaKodesh, Claire Roker, taught us the deep connection between the Holy Spirit and prayer. The Lord showed her to begin all her prayers by welcoming the Spirit. He knows the mind of God. He leads into all truth. He helps us pray. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26). “For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (Luke 12:12).
The Holy Spirit lives inside each born-again child of God. “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Cor. 6:19). So, when we pray, it behooves us to acknowledge, consult, welcome, and invite the Holy Spirit’s Presence. “Come, Holy Spirit. Please show me how to pray in this situation.”
May we value the “communion of the Holy Spirit” this Shavuot. (2 Cor. 13:14) In a shocking revelation, a study published by the Cultural Research Center of Arizona Christian University in 2021 showed that 58% of people who identify as Christians believe that the Holy Spirit is merely a symbol of God’s power, presence, or purity—not a real living being. Correction: The Holy Spirit, Ruach HaKodesh רוח הקודש (roo-AKH ha-koe-DESH) in Hebrew, is a Person, not just a power. A “He” not an “It.” He exercises the attributes of personality—mind (Rom. 8:27), will (1 Cor. 12:11), and feeling (Eph. 4:30). Personal activities are ascribed to Him. He reveals (2 Peter 1:21), teaches (John 14:26), witnesses (Gal. 4:6), intercedes (Rom. 8:26), speaks (Rev. 2:7), commands (Acts 16:6-7), and testifies (John 15:26). He can be grieved (Eph. 4:30), lied to (Acts 5:3), and blasphemed (Matt. 12:31, 32). Enough said. “Come, Holy Spirit.”
Types of Prayer and the Spirit
“Come, Holy Spirit,” show me how to pray. Do I praise, petition, proclaim, do spiritual warfare, intercession, deliverance prayer? God’s Spirit will be our guide if we ask Him for His help. I believe we all have a lot to learn in this area. I certainly do. It has been said that prayer is the breath of our spiritual life. (In Hebrew, the same word means breath, wind, or spirit: ruach (roo-AKH). “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…” (Eph. 6:18). John Wesley commented on this verse, “‘With all prayer’—all sort of prayer: public, private, mental, vocal. Do not be diligent in one kind of prayer and negligent in others; if we desire our petitions answered, let us use all.'”
Praise, Adoration, Exaltation
When Yeshua instructed His talmidim concerning prayer, He said, “Pray then, in this way” (Matt. 6:9), and taught them to begin prayer by praising and lifting up His Father in heaven. When we begin with acknowledging God as Father “Our Father,” we give Him His rightful place in our lives and prayers. Our Father is God. He is Loving. He is Gracious. He is Kind. He is Holy. He is Worthy to be Praised. This type of prayer is an attitude of the heart, letting God know how much we love Him. It is a heart crying out, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides you” (Ps. 73:25).
John Wesley said of those born of the Spirit: “The Spirit or breath of God is immediately breathed into the newborn soul. The same breath that comes from God is returned to God. As it is continually received by faith, so it is continually rendered back by love, prayer, praise, and thanksgiving. Love, prayer, and praise are the breath of every soul that is truly born of God. By these, spiritual life is not only sustained but increased day by day.”
Petition—making requests of the Lord, asking for our “daily bread.” We pray for our needs and those of our loved ones. Why include the Holy Spirit? Because HE knows what we really need, even before we do. He is omniscient; we are not. Since God already knows what we need, why pray? Because prayer shows our dependence on Him. We are not self-sufficient nor independent. We need God. Our petitions also demonstrate our faith in the Lord and our confidence in His promises. As the psalmist proclaimed, “I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God; incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech” (Ps. 17:6).
The Brit Hadasha ברית חדשה (b’-REET kha-dah-SHAH) tells us to present our petitions to God and assures us of His provision and answers. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God…” (Phil 4:6). “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Messiah Yeshua” (Phil 4:19). “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15).
Intercession is the action of saying a prayer on behalf of another person. Our primary model of intercession is the Messiah Himself who is interceding for us at this moment at the right hand of His Father in heaven: “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25). Intercessory prayer is selfless prayer. It is standing in the gap for someone other than ourselves. It could be a nation, a group of people, or an individual. Intercessors are my personal spiritual heroes. They are the unseen champions of the Kingdom, and remind me of something my son, Jonathan, said in a recent sermon: “Your best self is your sacrificial self.”
As we pray, “Come, Holy Spirit,” He will show us how to pray God’s heart for a specific situation or person. I know that many of you have been praying for our country, our government, and the world situation (Ukraine, Russia, Iran) in recent days. But Ruach HaKodesh keeps reminding me to share something I received from The Voice of the Martyrs, a ministry that I personally support. They sent me “10 Ways to Pray for the Persecuted Christians.” (Our brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering unimaginable horrors because of their faith in Yeshua).
- Pray they will sense God’s presence (Heb. 13:5)
- Pray they will know we are praying for them (2 Tim. 1:3)
- Pray they will experience God’s comfort (2 Thess. 2:16-17)
- Pray they will see God open doors of evangelism (Col. 4:3)
- Pray they will boldly share the gospel (Acts 4:29)
- Pray they will mature in their faith (Col. 1:28-29)
- Pray they will be granted wisdom in covert ministry work (Acts 9:23-25)
- Pray they will remain joyful amid suffering (Acts 5:41)
- Pray they will be able to forgive and love their persecutors (Matt. 5:44)
- Pray they will be deeply rooted in God’s Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
“Come, Holy Spirit. Show me the truths in the Word of God that I should proclaim in this situation (for this person).” This type of prayer is declaring by faith the truth of God’s Word. It may, in some cases, be prophetic. I have experienced this many times in the past forty-nine years of walking with Yeshua. Either I have proclaimed God’s Word in prayer, or someone has proclaimed it over me. I will never forget the day in 1989 at the altar at Temple Aron HaKodesh, that visiting speaker, Dr. Michael Brown, prayed over me: “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it” (Prov. 10:22). A few days later, on January 10, 1989, I gave birth to Jesse Allan Lash at age forty-two—natural birth, after having had a c-section with Jonathan. No medication. No pain. Just holy laughter. Childbirth without sorrow. (A reverse of the curse of Gen. 3:16.)
We remind God of His Word, not with arrogance, but humility and faith. An intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit helps us hear the voice of the Lord more clearly, so that we can boldly proclaim, “Thank You, Abba, that Your Word says …” A sample proclamation: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:9-10). And “Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left” (Is. 30:21).
Personal, One-On-One Prayer
“Come, Ruach HaKodesh” is really needed when praying for individuals. If asked, “How may I pray for you?” many people have no idea. They don’t know what they need. They just know that they are sick, worried, fearful, anxious, depressed, or any other condition but often have little understanding of their real problem. This is where hearing from the Holy Spirit is crucial. Only the Ruach רוח (roo-AKH) knows the root. Recently, a woman asked me to pray for her and her troubled marriage. Both she and her husband are believers in Messiah. Where to begin? I asked the Holy Spirit for help. He led me to ask her how she speaks to her husband. I told her the lesson of the “picket fence” that we learned when I taught on the Song of Songs chapter four. God has given us teeth to keep our tongues in check. Married women need to keep the fence up! A light bulb came on, and she said that her husband is always complaining about how she speaks to him. His words are usually kind. Hers are not. She repented and acknowledged her role in their marital discord. Thank You, Holy Spirit.
Prayer for individuals often includes the laying on of hands with prayer for physical, emotional, or mental healing. “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders … and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick…” (James 5:14-15). “And these signs will follow those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues… they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:17-18). I prayed, “Come, Holy Spirit” last week as a woman tearfully asked me to pray for her, saying, “I can’t stop drinking. I am an alcoholic.”
There is often overlap in the types of prayer. In the case of an alcoholic, much and varied prayer would be involved. Certainly, warfare and deliverance are needed. Having experienced my father’s alcoholism at the end of his life, I have personally dealt with demonic forces that only the power of God could defeat. And He did! In the case of my dad, I always began with praise and proclamation: “Thank You, Abba, that Yeshua is the Lamb for my household.” (Ex. 12:3) “That includes Pop Pop.” (My father had an angelic visitation and was saved six weeks before he went to heaven.)
The Bible makes it clear that our warfare is not with people (your spouse, your neighbor, your co-worker). These are not your enemies. The devil (haSatan) is the real enemy. Whether we like it or not, he is at war with us. What are we to do? “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places” (Eph. 6:10-12). We are given a key to defeating the devil in James 4:7: “Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” For example, “Lord, I humble myself before you. I yield my will to you. Without You, I can do nothing. I acknowledge my deep need of you in every aspect of my life. I repent of every root of pride and self-sufficiency, and I thank You for the blood of Yeshua that has cleansed me of every sin. I stand in His righteousness and His authority, and in the mighty Name of Yeshua, I resist the devil and his lying spirits. (Luke 10:19) Thank You Abba, that You always lead us in triumph in Messiah” (2 Cor. 2:14).
Note: Demons can quote and misquote Scripture. The voices of demonic spirits are often loud, urgent, and insistent, as Satan is always trying to get us to act hastily. The voice of the Lord is quiet but persistent, motivating us to come aside and quietly wait and listen. The devil pushes; the Lord leads; the devil brings urgency; the Lord brings peace. (Joy Dawson’s Forever Ruined for the Ordinary.)
“Come, Ruach HaKodesh” is certainly needed with prayers for deliverance. This is high-level warfare. It involves demonic strongholds, often entrenched in lives since childhood. Even believers in Messiah have spiritual strongholds from the past—chains that can be broken by the blood of the Lamb, the Name of Yeshua, and prayers of deliverance. Spirits of rejection (very common). Anger. Lust. Gluttony. Infirmity. It is our Father’s will that all His children be set totally free. (Jn. 8:36) Praying for deliverance includes boldness. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
In deliverance prayer, the Holy Spirit identifies the demonic spirits that have oppressed an often unknowing victim of the evil one. Evil spirits are commanded to leave in the Name of Yeshua, King of kings and Lord of lords. This includes every spirit of guilt, every spirit of worry, and every lying and deceiving spirit. Satan’s power is broken by the power of Ruach HaKodesh—the same Spirit that raised the Messiah from the dead. The devil’s assignment is canceled. He must flee.
Prayer in June 2022
“…Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:11). As we wait quietly before the Lord this month, the Holy Spirit will show us how to pray for marriages, fathers (June 19th is Father’s Day), the U.S.A., the world, our families, and ourselves. “Come, Holy Spirit.”
Love in the Ruach,
P.S. Order Claire Roker’s “How Should I Pray?” CD offered in this newsletter for more in-depth teaching.
P.P.S. Check out “My House Shall Be Called a House of Prayer” by Jim Cymbala on YouTube.