Joy, Prayer, and the Holy Spirit

When we read, “this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5.18), we should sit up and take notice. God’s will is always the best for his children.

The will of God for followers of Jesus is this:

— Verse 16 – Rejoice always.

— Verse 17 – Pray without ceasing.

— Verse 18 – Give thanks in all circumstances.

He concludes these three commands and writes, “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

There is a clear connection between these commands and the work of the Holy Spirit, as a survey of Paul’s letters reveals.

Prayer and the Holy Spirit

“Pray without ceasing” is the short-hand version of what Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus.

Ephesians 6:18Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.

Notice the frequency of prayer. It is to be at all times. God’s people are to persevere in prayer.

Followers are to pray “in the Spirit.”

One evidence of being “filled with the Spirit” is a joyful and grateful heart.

Ephesians 5.18-20 Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,

As you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to one another, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts,

Giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Another reference to the Holy Spirit and prayer illuminates how people combine the work of the Spirit with prayer.

Romans 8:26-27Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with groanings too deep for words.

And God, who searches hearts, knows what is the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

When followers of Jesus recognize their spiritual weakness and need, they are perfectly positioned to depend on the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit is ready and willing to help our prayers if we will but ask for his direction.

The Spirit and Grateful Joy

Like a sandwich, Paul placed continual prayer between the command to rejoice and to be thankful.

Just as the Holy Spirit is essential for prayer, he is likewise needed for joy and gratitude.

Paul wrote that a basic character trait of the Spirit is joy.

Galatians 5:22The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, and faithfulness.

Jesus inaugurated the kingdom of God on earth. Jesus pictured the nature of the kingdom through his action, attitudes, and teaching.

Paul summarized the qualities of the kingdom in his letter to the Romans.

Romans 14:17For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

The activity of the Holy Spirit gives us the power to live the right kind of lives, have God’s well-being, and live in joy.

As we work side-by-side with the Spirit, we can expect our prayer lives to be more powerful and meaningful. We also can plan on having God’s peace and joy.

Our choice to involve the Holy Spirit in our daily lives will result in the ability to fulfill God’s command through Paul.

— Verse 16 – Rejoice always.

— Verse 17 – Pray without ceasing.

— Verse 18 – Give thanks in all circumstances.

The question for us is what are we waiting for? Let’s open our lives to the Spirit and see what kind of change will take place.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I discuss this powerful passage on today’s YouTube broadcast. It can be found on the Bob Spradling channel.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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