Did you know there’s a difference between praying from your spirit versus praying from your soul?
I’ve seen this time and time again – especially in prayer meetings where various people pray. I can immediately tell from the frequency in someone’s voice (their tone, passion, etc.) whether they are praying from their spirit or their soul.
So what’s the difference? And does it change the results?
When we pray from our souls, we tend to connect with our emotions. We focus on the problem and we pray the problem out loud. When someone prays from their soul they often focus on the pain of the problem and it can make them cry or speak very passionately. There’s nothing wrong with that. It is one way of praying. It may make us feel better or sometimes it makes us feel worse (more emotionally upset). Here’s an example,
“Lord, you know what is happening with our young people. They are doing drugs, they are not listening to their parents, they are going after the world. Oh, Lord, you know this breaks our hearts. It is not right. We need you to intervene and change their hearts. They are headed down a very dark path that leads to destruction. We don’t want that to happen. We don’t want them to die young from a drug overdose or from violence in the streets. Oh Lord, please help us! Please help our young people turn to you!”
When we pray from our spirits, we are listening to the Holy Spirit and waiting to hear from the Spirit what we should say. We are not focused on the problem, we are focused on what the Spirit is saying. I often hear spiritual authority in someone’s voice when they pray from their spirit instead of from their soul. When someone prays from their soul, they are using their emotional energy to convey the importance of their request – by getting more passionate about it, they feel they are connecting more with God. When someone prays from their spirit, they are using the energy of spiritual authority and that has a completely different effect. Here’s an example,
“Thank you, Lord, that you are taking care of our young people. We see that some are not honoring you, but we know that you are already working in their hearts to dismantle their love of the world. Thank you that you have dispatched angels tonight to fight on their behalf against the darkness. We specifically release an increased awareness of Your presence and Your goodness in the lives of Sammy, Tom, Junior and Olivia. We expect to see the outworking of Your grace in their choices soon. Thank you so much for your love and kindness that you care about them and their future. You are a good, good Father!”
Often a prayer from the Spirit becomes more and more specific. Instead of just praying for “young people” in general, the Spirit will bring specific young people to mind and how to pray for them personally. God is a personal God – He knows each of us by name and can give us very specific insight into how to pray for those we care about. Or He may reveal a specific strategy He is using to reach a large group of people. Either way, it becomes more and more specific the longer we listen and pray what He is saying.
When we pray from our spirits, we are not trying to move God by our tears or our passion. We are simply agreeing with what HE is already doing and we are partnering with His purposes on the earth. How do you know what He is already doing? By listening to the Holy Spirit as you pray – He will tell you what to say and how to say it. I’m not kidding – it really works that way! Then, guess what? Those prayers tend to get answered more quickly and effectively! Why? Because you were praying according to His will, not according to yours.
John said it like this, “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.” I John 5:14-15
I LOVE to be in a prayer meeting where each person is listening to the Holy Spirit and only praying what they hear the Lord saying. There’s such freedom and power! It is incredibly encouraging as the Lord reveals His plans for the problems we see. By the end of the prayer time, we are so filled with joy and anticipation of what God is going to do!!
I don’t enjoy as much the prayer meetings I have been in when people are praying from their souls. It can be moving to hear how much they care about an issue, but often it begins to feel almost like charismatic witchcraft – trying to get God to do what YOU want Him to do. It’s actually quite painful at times as you sense the lack of faith in God’s goodness – when you “pray the problem”, it tends to grow in your mind and weigh you down even more. Yuk!
If you need help learning how to listen to the Holy Spirit, I created a short course to help with that. It only takes a few minutes to go through the material and then practice – I recommend 15 minutes each week for 4 weeks. The more you practice, the easier it gets! The course is called Developing A Close Relationship with God: A Simple Method. You can click on the course icon below to find out more information. You will enjoy it! 🙂
So how about you? Do you know the difference between when you are praying in your soul versus when you are praying in your spirit? Can you shift between them when you want to? Do you know how to listen to the Holy Spirit when you are praying? Comment below! Share your experience – I shared mine. We learn from each other that way. ❤
Related post you might be interested in: Spirit vs Soul, a two part series discussing the difference between the two & what it means for your everyday life
When I was new to the idea of confronting spiritual darkness, I met a couple who seemed to have a little more experience in this area. The wife could discern whether an object had a curse on it by holding it in her hand. The husband could discern spiritual activity (angels & demons) – he said he saw them like comic book characters.
When I met them (nearly 20 years ago), they reported having some experience in helping people get free of oppression from dark forces. I had very little experience so I listened to what they had to say. They seemed balanced – not flaky like other Christians I had known. They taught me some things that I still use to this day.
One of the principles they learned (from experience) was spiritual protection. They reported having really bad experiences of “backlash” after a ministry appointment unless they specifically prayed for spiritual protection. I have incorporated the prayer they taught me with other prayers the Holy Spirit has impressed on me from time to time.
Whenever you directly confront darkness or dark forces through prayer, intercession or in a ministry setting (i.e. praying for someone who is oppressed by evil), afterwards it is a good idea to pray something like this:
“I bind all Retaliation, Revenge, Retribution and Jealousy from off of me and everything associated with me. I cancel all witchcraft and any soulish prayers prayed concerning me or my family. I close every open door to the enemy’s realm and I seal them with the blood of Jesus. Thank you, Lord, for your protection. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Obviously, there is no set formula – you can adapt or revise this prayer to suit your own needs. I have added some parts to it over the years based on my own experience. My friends used to call this “binding the three Rs”. Later they learned that they should add Jealousy. The 3 Rs is still a shortened way to refer to this. My husband and I have also found it helpful to pray this on a regular basis, regardless of what kind of ministry we have been doing lately.
Sometimes when we leave a specific location and are on the way home, I will feel impressed to “cancel any trailing or lingering spirits”. Sometimes I will get a specific impression to “cut off all communication devices of the enemy” and I may also cancel “any watchers or listeners”. A friend of mine has seen watchers and listeners – they are creepy. Just like in a real war in the natural, you might have these elements, right? So it makes sense to me that you might need to pray specifically against these in the spiritual war we are in.
Another couple I know have a habit of praying a “golden dome of protection”. This is particularly helpful if you are in a setting where you feel uncomfortable in your spirit, but you do not want to leave. I have prayed this at a restaurant, for instance. I ask God to fill this dome with His presence around our table and remove anything that does not come from Him. Immediately I feel at peace and I feel comfortable staying at the restaurant. It feels like a personal “force field”. I have found this very helpful and have used it when needed.
How about you? Have you found any specific prayers of protection that have been helpful? If so, please comment below. It is good for us to learn from each other – we all get stronger that way.
Many people are not aware of the importance of spiritual protection against “backlash” and they suffer from lack of knowledge – would you please share this post in your favorite social media as a way to bring awareness to this issue? Thank you! 🙂
This memory keeps standing out in my mind so I guess I should share it next. It’s a little “out there” – it creeps me out whenever I think of it.
I was traveling for business. My brother happened to be in the same city, attending the wedding of an extended family member. He called me and said he was very worried about a certain sister’s safety. She had been at the event and then disappeared without telling anyone she was leaving. They later found out she had boarded a bus to go back to her home. This concerned him greatly because she had been telling him she was relieved to be away from home because she was in a very abusive relationship and the man had recently threatened to kill her. No one could understand why she suddenly left to return to him.
My brother is a man of prayer – when he is worried, his first defense is to intercede and ask God to intervene. He asked me to meet him to pray for this sister. We decided to go for a walk – there were too many people in the house and everyone was upset about the situation. We figured being outside would help us clear our heads and enable us to focus better in prayer.
As we walked, he did most of the praying. I just agreed. At one point, I “saw” this very, very large being above us. In comparison to its size, we looked like ants. I could see its legs like large columns going up and up. I sensed that it looked down at us, specifically at my brother, and it was annoyed at his prayers. The attitude conveyed was, “You think you have a right to pray for her safety? She’s mine!”
My brother interceded harder, asking God to save her life and protect her from the violence of the man she was going home to. He’s very bold when he prays. He prays with great authority and obviously he annoyed some very large being that was watching over this situation.
We finished praying. He walked me back to my car and I drove to my hotel. Even though we had closed out our time with prayers of protection and covering for ourselves, I had the uncanny feeling that this being was going to manifest in some way the next day at my job. I prayed about it several times that night, but I could not shake that feeling. I didn’t know what to expect. We had been praying against violence, bloodshed, the spirit of death, etc – anything that seemed related to the attack against this sister.
The next day at work, I was on the alert. I prayed on the way and I prayed when I arrived. I didn’t like knowing that somehow this spirit was going to show itself in my work day, but I was glad I had advance warning. I didn’t feel afraid – I just prayed for grace to know how to deal with it when it happened. For some reason, I didn’t feel I had the authority to block it from manifesting.
I was managing a small office of people. They needed an extra pair of hands to get a job done so the district manager had approved for a temporary labor office to send someone over. The man who arrived surprised me. He looked kind of like Santa Claus – he was older, overweight and had a white beard. The work assignment was physical labor. I explained this to him and asked if he felt he could do the work. I was a little concerned because he looked about ready for retirement, not a full 8 hours of physical labor in the sun of a very hot climate. He said he was fine and I sent him outside to be trained by one of our regular personnel.
About an hour and half later, he came walking into the office holding his left hand in his right hand and said, “Can someone help me please?” We all turned to see him – blood was dripping from his hands as he walked across the floor. I was shocked. Thankfully, the rest of the staff responded immediately. One of the office clerks had nurses training in her background and steered him toward the bathroom so she could see how bad the wound was and clean it up. Another staff member had training in blood borne illnesses and notified me that he knew how to clean up a blood spill correctly and proceeded to do so.
We had never had someone injured in this office before – at least not to my knowledge. We were all quite puzzled in how he could have hurt himself – and after only working for a little over an hour by himself. Thankfully, his wound was not serious. The office clerk got the bleeding stopped and bandaged him up from the first aid kit. I called the temporary labor office and our district manager for instructions on where to send him for treatment. I gave him the information and off he went.
As he left, I could not stop shaking my head. As soon as I ‘d seen the blood dripping on the floor, I’d known. This was a manifestation of that spirit of bloodshed and violence. I was very thankful it had been minor. That spirit seemed intent on intimidating me more than anything else – no real harm was done. The man would recover with a few minor stitches. I don’t know why this played out the way it did, but it made a definite impression on me.
Has anything this strange ever happened to you? What did you do? I’d love to hear stories from other people. I don’t often share these because most people have no frame of reference for something so odd.