Praying In The Spirit (John Wimber)

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Jackie Pullinger-To, a woman doing a phenomenal work among drug addicts in Hong Kong. I wanted to know how she was able to lead so many people to the Lord and meet so many needs of the new believers as they struggled to lead a new life in Christ.


John Wimber

Founder, Association of Vineyard Churches



Praying In The Spirit

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Jackie Pullinger-To, a woman doing a phenomenal work among drug addicts in Hong Kong. I wanted to know how she was able to lead so many people to the Lord and meet so many needs of the new believers as they struggled to lead a new life in Christ.

Friends of mine accompanied her as she went about her day on the streets and buses of Hong Kong. They discovered that Jackie spends her day walking the narrow lanes and alleys of Hong Kong, praying in the Spirit and asking the Father what he is doing, where he is moving, and who needs him most. What a precious example of intimate prayer communication! By simply abiding in Jesus and doing the things the Father shows her to do, she has been able to reach hundreds for Jesus.

Studying through 1 Corinthians 14, you’ll discover that praying in the Spirit is a way of communicating and edifying yourself in an intimate connection with God. Scripture says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18a). Paul, here, is saying that we should pray in a spiritual language as well as pray under the anointing and the initiation of the Holy Spirit.

We are all three dimensional in reflection of the makeup of God. We consist of body, soul, and spirit. The body we are well acquainted with; the soul is our mind, intellect, and personality, which we are also acquainted with; and then we have a spiritual dimension. As a result of being born again, the Spirit of God comes into us, indwells and reinvigorates us. He renews our spirit, brings it to life as the Scripture says. So the result is body, soul, and born-again spirit.

Now, we know that our mind operates our tongue, or at least it should. On occasion, we don’t get our mind in gear before our tongue starts talking. But did you realize that your spirit can run your tongue the same way your mind can? There is a tremendous dimension of self-edification in praying in the Spirit. When I am at a low point, one of the ways I’ve found to get replenished is to go off  by myself, read the Word and pray in the Spirit. As I pour out my heart to God in my most intimate prayers, I have found I move back and forth between my natural language and spiritual language.

Now, I have found there is a fascinating relationship between praying in the Spirit and the revelation of God. There are times when God reveals to me things he wants to change or bring to pass in my own development, as well as my loved ones. As I pray in the Spirit, I fix my mind on needs of people and their situations, and I pray all that is in my mind and heart. Then, when I have exhausted all I know to pray about, I’ll begin praying in the Spirit again, fixing the person and his or her need in my mind. As I move back and forth from my spiritual language to my natural language, many times, I find revelation comes.

I have to admit that at first when these revelations began to happen I chalked it up to allowing my imagination to run away with me. But when those revelations about someone have come about, and I have prayed about them and have seen answers, I realized it is a way to reach into the spiritual realm and pull things into the natural realm.

Sometimes, when I’m driving along, I’ll be talking in English to the Lord, and then I go back and forth into a spiritual language, because I’ve learned there is a flow of interpretation that way. I learn things from the Spirit, even though my mind is not doing the praying, my spirit is, and insights float up to a cognitive state. To me, it is a delightful, intimate exchange with God.

John Wimber, Prayer: Intimate Communication (Anaheim: Vineyard Ministries International, 1997), 13-14.

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John Wimber on Praying In The Spirit: “Sometimes, when I’m driving along, I’ll be talking in English to the Lord, and then I go back and forth into a spiritual language, because I’ve learned there is a flow of interpretation that way. I learn things from the Spirit, even though my mind is not doing the praying, my spirit is, and insights float up to a cognitive state. To me, it is a delightful, intimate exchange with God.”
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