18 By means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in spirit and watching unto this in all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints.
1 Thessalonians 5:
17 Unceasingly pray.
1 Timothy 2:
8 I desire therefore that men pray in every place, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and reasoning.
Prayer Must be in the Spirit
We know that the existence and operation of the universe and everything in it is governed by laws. If we want to do anything effectively we must keep the particular laws of that thing. Concerning prayer, there is an iron-clad law: prayer must be in spirit; for in praying you pray to God, and God is Spirit. If you pray in the mind, emotion, or will, but not in spirit, you cannot touch God nor pray into Him. These faculties cannot get you through to Him. In order to touch God and pray into Him, we must pray in spirit. It is when the Holy Spirit utters prayers in and with our spirit that we can touch God.
Even a sinner who repents and prays to the Lord after hearing the gospel must pray from his spirit in order to touch God and be saved. Until that time he is not yet regenerated, and his spirit is still not quickened; but when the Holy Spirit moves him, enlightens his conscience, and causes him to repent, he prays from his enlightened conscience. Since the conscience constitutes a major part of the spirit, a prayer that comes out from the conscience is a prayer that comes out from the spirit. Having been enlightened by God as well as touched by the Holy Spirit, the conscience is convicted of sin. The cry that issues from such a condemning conscience is, no doubt, a prayer in spirit. Hence, such prayer can contact God, and there is an echo within us. As the children of God who have been regenerated and have the Holy Spirit dwelling within, our prayers must be in spirit to touch God and be answered. This is the first point about which we should be clear.
Praying Without Wrath or Reasoning
In 1 Timothy 2:8, Paul also urges the brothers to pray “without wrath and reasoning.” Wrath and reasoning kill our prayer. Wrath is of our emotion, and reasoning is of our mind. To have a prayer life and pray unceasingly, our emotion and mind must be regulated to a normal condition under the control of the Spirit in our spirit.
The Greek word for reasoning means disputatious reasoning. What Paul is speaking of here is not normal or ordinary reasoning, but a reasoning filled with disputation. We must avoid this if we are to pray properly.
Paul’s word about not having disputatious reasonings is related to his admonition to lift up holy hands. If we close our eyes and lift up our hands, we shall be able to pray. But if we open our eyes to consider others and reason about their situation, we shall not be able to pray. Instead of lifting up our hands, we may clasp them behind our back. Who can pray with his hands clasped behind his back? But if we lift up our hands and refrain from disputatious reasoning, we shall be able to pray in a proper way.
From experience I have learned that our prayer life can be affected by our mood. If I do not keep myself in a proper mood, my prayer life is put to death. Anger always destroys our prayer life for a period of time. If a brother loses his temper with his wife, he may find that he cannot pray properly for a few days. If we are to have a prayer life, we must learn not to be moody or angry with others. By the Lord’s grace that is with our spirit, we must exercise a strict control over our emotion.
The Kernel of the Bible, Chapter 20, W. Lee