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Praying in the Spirit

Most people know about, have heard about or have lived a life of prayer.   Simply put, prayer is talking and listening to God. Prayer includes worship, petition, communion, and fellowship.  Jesus considered prayer so important that he said, “men ought always to pray and not to faint.”

Let me share an experience that I had that may bless you.  Many years ago, our church was on a special consecration. We had just started the fast that day. I went to work for a half a day, because I had an appointment later that afternoon. I came home first so that I could spend some quality time in prayer.

Denine Hammond

Denine Hammond

I had not talked to or seen my husband since about 6:00 a.m. that morning. I was at home by myself praying. I entered into a tremendous worship. Then the anointing to pray in tongues came. I prayed in tongues for quite some time. Suddenly, I began to prophesy over members of our local church as the Holy Spirit gave me the utterance. The last person that I began to prophesy over was my husband, who was the senior pastor at our church. As, I began to prophesy and pray over him, I could actually see him kneeling down in front of a chair at church praying. It was like I was actually there. I laid hands on his head. I prophesied over his life and over the ministry.  There were about five (5) specific things that the Spirit of the Lord gave me utterance to prophesy.  I wrote them down so that I would not forget.

As soon as I began to prophesy over my husband, I heard the enemy say, “You can’t prophecy over a person unless they are present.” Without even thinking, I said out loud, “I’m not doing this in the flesh, but I am speaking this in the Spirit!” I proceeded to speak the word of the Lord over his life until the utterance ceased.

When, I finished praying and praising God, I had to leave for my appointment, which was right before our Wednesday night Bible Study. As I was driving, I began to ask the Holy Spirit to give me scripture concerning what had happened. I wanted clarity on prophesying over someone not in your presence. I had not heard any teaching on this subject or to my knowledge remembered reading anything in the Bible about this. When God called me into ministry the first thing that the Lord spoke to me was to teach sound doctrine.  I believe that anything that is of God can be confirmed through the Bible.

The Holy Spirit spoke to me, while I was driving, and said “Read I Corinthians 14.” I thought to myself. I have read I Corinthians 14 many times. It talks about speaking in tongues, prophecy, revelation, and prayer. I still wasn’t sure where this was going.  I couldn’t wait until I got a chance to read this chapter to get further understanding. I was waiting with great expectation to see what revelation God had for me from this chapter.

Before I share with you what the Holy Spirit gave me concerning I Corinthians chapter14, let me tell you what happened that night at Bible Study. I left my appointment and went directly to Bible Study. Before my husband began to teach, he said, God gave him something earlier in prayer, and he felt led to share it with the congregation. He said he was on his knees praying, and there were about five (5) specific things that the Lord gave him concerning himself and the ministry.  I just sat there speechless and in awe of God’s glory as he began to speak those same five (5) specific things God gave me to prophecy over his life in prayer. It was around the same time that the Lord had given us the same thing.

I began to weep with joy thinking how awesome God is. I had actually seen him in the Spirit praying on his knees. The word of the Lord had been confirmed through both of us at the same time. Needless to say, this experience tremendously impacted my prayer life.

Now let’s take a look at I Corinthians 14.


I Corinthians 14:12  Even so ye forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church

14:13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.

14:14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

14:15 What is it then?  I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also; I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

14:16  Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?


In I Corinthians 14, Paul compares and contrast two manifestations of praying in the Holy Spirit.   When you pray in the Spirit, it is the Holy Spirit giving utterance to what is needed separate from what your mind knows. The utterance can come in the form of prophesy or an unknown tongue.

God created man in three parts: spirit, soul, and body. Paul makes a distinction between praying with “the spirit” which refers to your spirit versus “praying with the understanding.”  Paul is not saying sometimes I will pray with the Holy Spirit, and other times I will pray in the flesh. What Paul is explaining is that there is a difference between praying with “my spirit” and praying with “my understanding.” He is explaining that sometimes when you pray in “the Spirit,” you are praying out of your “spirit” and using other languages unknown to you.  Other times, you are praying by “the Spirit” out of your “understanding” meaning your native language (which is prophesy).  It is the Holy Spirit that gives us utterance to speak or pray in an unknown tongue as well as the utterance to prophesy.

Praying with the understanding is, praying in your native language the words that the Holy Spirit puts in your mouth to say.  It is a “Spirit lead” prayer in the language that you are familiar with. You are praying a prophetic prayer.

When you pray a prophetic type of prayer, the Holy Spirit is interceding on your behalf. The difference is that you understand the words that are coming out of your mouth. You just didn’t know that you were going to speak those words, because it was not in your plans to say those words.  The Holy Spirit uttered them through you. So you are praying in “the Spirit” with your “understanding.”

Columnist Denine Hammonds has a calling on her life to teach sound doctrine. She and her husband, Frank Hammonds, have been in ministry for over twenty-five years. They most recently planted Miracles Do Happen Ministries in Denton, Texas. She holds a Master of Science degree in counseling and is a certified school counselor in Indiana and Texas. She has been a licensed school counselor for over twelve years.

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