Spirit vs Soul, Surprising Power in Prayer
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
Deep Healing So You Can Rest
Many times we experience spiritual attacks because of wounds we have inside (emotional or spiritual). We are often unconscious that we have these wounds. We tend to move on with life without dealing with them, usually because we simply don’t know how. These wounds often bring curses or “open doors” to the realm of darkness.
A friend sent me this wonderful video that helps to deal with those hidden wounds. Jim Banks talks for a few minutes and then he does a “prayer process”, as he calls it. He covers several things in his prayer and you will be surprised by how many seem to impact you directly. Many people say listening to this helped them sleep better than they have in years!
He also does some specific things during this prayer that can help with spiritual attacks – he breaks curses and disconnects you from things that may be harassing or influencing you. He helps your body release anxiety and stress that you may not know you are carrying.
I recommend listening to it at a time that you can pay attention without distraction, just before bedtime. The video is a just under an hour. Listening to the prayer makes you very relaxed and sleepy (hence the suggestion to listen before bed).
Once you’ve listened to the whole thing, you can go back the next day and listen to just the prayer process. I’ve listened to it several times and I always get something new. He says on his blog that some people make it part of their “getting ready for bed” ritual, to help them relax and sleep peacefully. 🙂
The video is on YouTube – it’s called Effective Trauma Release — [deeper healing in the spirit]. Here it is:
There’s a copy of this “prayer process” in his book, The Effects of Trauma and How to Deal with It.
If you want more in-depth help, Jim and his wife offer individual prayer counseling sessions by phone, skype or Facebook messenger video call. They also offer 1-3 days intensives if you want to meet with them in person. They are currently located near Nashville, Tennessee. Here’s the details of how to make an appointment: https://jimandpatbanks.com/personal-ministry/
After you listen to the video, please come back to this blog and let me know how it helped you. Your testimony may encourage someone else!
How to Host a God Gathering
It has been on my heart recently to host a “God Gathering” – a place where people can gather to seek the Lord. In the old days, people referred to this as “tarrying in the presence of the Lord”. It’s not exactly a prayer meeting – I’m not sure what to call it so I call it a “God Gathering”. 🙂
I have hosted many of these over the years and it occurred to me last night that there may be someone who doesn’t know how to do this so here’s how I do it – in case it might inspire someone else to host a God Gathering of their own!
- Make sure you are hosting the God Gathering for the right reasons. The Holy Spirit is usually the one who initiates the invitation by putting it on my heart to host one. You do not want to do this just because you feel like it – it won’t work. I had a friend call me one time and ask me to host one for her. I had a feeling she was motivated by emotion more than by the Spirit because she seemed upset and hosting the meeting was a reaction to her emotional turmoil. She contacted a bunch of people and twelve of them said they would come. I prepared for it, but I had this sense that this was an empty endeavor. Sure enough, the day for the meeting arrived and she was the only one who showed up. We sat together, quietly talking. When it became obvious that no one else was coming (not even other spiritual leaders, pastors, etc. that had promised to come), I told her I had a sense that it just wasn’t the right time. She agreed and went home. This was a clear object lesson for me – don’t be tempted to do this on your own. Wait for His timing.
- Prepare the environment. I usually do this by cleaning the room where we will be meeting and playing some soaking music softly in the background. I often do this a few days before and just let the music keep playing. My brother used to tell me he could tell the angels liked it when he left the soaking music on. I’m not aware of that but it does help your mind to focus on the Lord every time you hear the music. Some suggestions for soaking music are here.
- Send out an invitation and make sure people are clear on why you are hosting this meeting. You want to make sure that the people who are coming are sincerely wanting to connect with the Lord. This is not just a social gathering. If parents ask, I don’t usually include young children because it’s hard for them to sit still (though I have seen some children who really like these kinds of meetings, but it is rare). You want an environment with no distractions.
- Prepare the spiritual environment. Once the people have gathered and greeted each other, I turn down the lighting to signal that it’s time to begin. Then I pray some specific prayers to prepare the spiritual environment and our hearts for an encounter with Jesus.
- Pray over the room, asking the Lord to wash it and commanding everything else to leave. For example, “Lord, thank You for meeting with us. We are here for You. Would You please wash off this room and remove anything that does not belong here? No spirits of the enemy are allowed to stay here – leave now, in Jesus’ name.”
- Pray over the people, asking the Lord to wash us off and remove any distractions from hindering our time with Him. For example, “Lord, I ask that You wash us off from all that we’ve picked up today. Would You please draw us close to You? Open our hearts and minds to hear from You. Please remove any distracting influences during our time together.”
- Invite the Holy Spirit to come. Yes, the Lord is already there, but there’s something about this step that prepares YOU to hear from Him. For example, “Holy Spirit, we invite You to come. You are welcome in this place. Please increase our awareness of Your presence.” There’s a difference between the omnipresence of God and the tangible manifest presence of God. We are seeking His manifest presence.
- Invite Wisdom and Revelation. For example, “Wisdom and Revelation, come. We welcome you. We invite you to speak to us and show us God’s glory and goodness.” I don’t know how this works, but I know that when I do this it shifts the atmosphere. Some say these are specific angels that are released to minister – others say these are aspects of the Spirit of the Lord. Either way, you are welcoming them to reveal the Lord’s goodness and glory. I don’t have to understand it for it to work (like electricity, right?). Childlike faith is simple and powerful.
- Wait expectantly. At this point, I often turn the music up just a little bit so we can hear it and drown out any other sounds. It helps us to focus without distraction. Often the presence of the Lord has been building with each prayer of invitation spoken so now we just enjoy Him. I often find a smile bursting on my face because He’s HERE in such a tangible way – I am so happy to be with Him. Sometimes I whisper my love and worship to Him – trying not to distract anyone, but at the same time honoring who He is to me. Others may also whisper their love and worship. 🙂 Some people sit, some lay down on the floor, some kneel – each one is free to do whatever feels comfortable for them. (I have tile floors so when I host these, I often put big cushions on the floor and some fluffy throw rugs for people to lay on, if they want to.) Sometimes people pace at the end of the room – that’s okay too. It’s important for each person to be free to be themselves. I also make sure there is paper and pens on the coffee tables in case anyone needs to write what the Lord is saying to them, especially if they wish to give it to someone else.
- Receive from His presence. Just being together in God’s presence is incredibly refreshing and healing. We often just sit quietly and soak up His presence. No one is moving or talking – just being together. Letting God be God.
- Ask people to share. After a time of waiting on God, I will often feel prompted to lower the music a little bit and then I ask, “Would anyone like to share what the Lord is showing them?” One by one people share what the Lord shared with them – it could be a Scripture verse, a new insight into His goodness and care, a word, a song or a vision. Scripture says, “When you gather for worship, each one of you be prepared with something that will be useful for all: Sing a hymn, teach a lesson, tell a story, lead a prayer, provide an insight. Take your turn, no one person taking over. Then each speaker gets a chance to say something special from God, and you all learn from each other.” I Corinthians 14 The Message.
- Respond to each thing that is shared. This is really important and some people miss this. Pay attention to what the Lord is saying through each person who shares. Acknowledge what has been shared (thank the person) and then ask the Lord if there’s anything that needs to be done. I am often doing this internally while the person shares, asking the Lord to direct us. Sometimes it is obvious – perhaps something the person shares relates to a current event that needs to be prayed for. Ask that person to lead in prayer, others can join in after they pray. Usually the person who gets the insight or revelation has the authority to pray it out. If someone gets a word of knowledge or word of wisdom for an individual in the meeting, they should offer to minister to that person. Maybe they need prayer – but don’t force it. Ask them first. Sometimes it is not obvious right away what the Lord is saying but after 2-3 people share, you might see a theme emerging that guides you. Ask the Holy Spirit – in fact, I often just stop everything and say out loud, “Holy Spirit, what do You want us to do with this?” and we all just wait. If you don’t hear or sense anything, then just move to the next person who wants to share.
- Pray for each other. After everyone has had a chance to share what the Lord showed them, ask if anyone needs prayer. If there are many needs and time is running out, break up into pairs or groups of three and pray for each other. This is so important – we have no idea how much the people around us are in need until we ask. Asking for prayer requests tends to open people up like nothing else does – this is often the most precious part of these gatherings as people feel safe enough to be vulnerable and transparent about their pain and struggles. This is the body of Christ loving on one another – first we love God and receive His love, then we love one another. ❤
- Close in prayer. You’d think you could skip this step since so much prayer has been going on all night, right? But there’s something about “closing” that feels right. For example, “Lord, thank You so much for meeting with us tonight. We enjoy Your presence so much! Thank You for all You did tonight. We ask that You seal these prayers and all that happened here. We love You.”
I have not encountered too many church meetings that follow this format. But every time I follow it, the Lord comes powerfully and everyone leaves very happy, refreshed and blessed.
I wonder if you could do this virtually. Could you have an online God Gathering using video chat? What do you think? Would it work?
Is there anything you do that helps you and your friends connect with God? Please feel free to share it. I love new ideas!
Emergency Maneuvers in the Spirit
The other day around 5am, I woke up coughing. I realized I could hardly breathe – my chest was very “tight” and my nose was stuffed. I was surprised because I don’t have asthma or allergies and I didn’t have a cold. I had been deeply asleep when I suddenly sat up and started coughing. As I was struggling to clear my airways, I became aware that I was not alone in the room.
I could sense a presence next to me – as though someone (or something) was sitting on the bed next to me. I was focused on trying to clear my lungs but I kept glancing over, feeling very uncomfortable. I wasn’t afraid – just disturbed, like you would be if you woke up and a stranger was sitting on your bed.
I started praying and asking the Lord what was going on. The only impression I got was the Spirit of Death. But it was a faint impression – like an outline of a shadow. I tried to see if any legal ground for the Spirit of Death came to mind. Nothing.
I kept praying, trying to “clear the air”: First, I came out of agreement with the Spirit of Death. Then I commanded any spirit not sent there by Jesus to leave NOW. I closed any open doors to the enemy’s realm and sealed them with the blood of Jesus.
It felt a little “lighter” in my room, but that “thing” was still there. I didn’t feel threatened – it wasn’t that strong. I was just annoyed and wanted to go back to sleep.
I remembered some “emergency maneuvers” I had learned and implemented them. Finally, the air cleared completely! Whew! Thank goodness for my earlier training in spiritual warfare. I certainly didn’t want to go back to sleep with that spirit next to me in bed. Creepy!
As I was settling down to fall asleep, I thought, “I should share these Emergency Maneuvers on this blog in case anyone else finds themselves in a similar situation”. If you pray and rebuke and command and everything else you can think of and things aren’t shifting, then try some of these:
- Start talking about the Blood of Jesus. The enemy hates the blood of Jesus. Start thanking God for the blood OUT LOUD. Sing songs about the blood of Jesus. Read or quote scriptures about the blood out loud. Focus on it for a while & things will shift.
- Pray in tongues. This is always a good strategy – when you don’t know what else to do and you have no direction from the Holy Spirit, praying in tongues can do wonders. An elderly Sunday School teacher once told me, “Ask the Holy Spirit to pray through you the perfect prayer that is needed for the situation and then pray in tongues.” I always keep this one in mind if I ever feel too foggy mentally – sometimes you just can’t even think straight to pray.
- Worship and sing. Worship can be in spoken words or in song – it doesn’t matter. Singing songs can be comforting to your heart and mind, reminding you of God’s power and might. But in my experience, it also specifically increases my awareness of the presence of God. In other words, more of God’s presence fills the room, pushing out any other presence that doesn’t belong there.
I put some Vicks on my chest and was able to fall back to sleep, thankfully. That afternoon on my way home from an appointment, I saw a vehicle that made me stop and stare. Ahead of me in traffic was a white boxy sedan with a white casket attached to the top. The casket was decorated with plastic skulls. The back window said in large letters: DEATH. There was a statue attached to the casket that looked right down at you when you pulled up behind the vehicle – it was the spirit of death (a black hooded cape with no face and no hands – like an invisible being). I was shocked! I almost took a photo of it to post here, but then I thought, “That is so creepy – I don’t want to pass this on to anyone who views the photo!” Here’s an example – a black hood and cape. Imagine the arms stretched to either side in a menacing stance. That’s a pretty good depiction of that spirit (kind of like the grim reaper).
When my husband got home that night I told him about both events to see if he got any insight from the Lord as to why this was happening. He said he got two words “despair” and “suicide”. Since neither one of us felt that, I asked the Lord to show me who was feeling that way. That evening I baked some sweet bread and took a few slices to my neighbor. She answered the door in her robe and said, “Please pray for me – the depression is really bad right now.” I knew she had been suffering with a lot of pain and was counting down the days until she could have a procedure done that might bring relief.
I asked if I could pray for her right then; I took her hand when she said yes. I prayed against the depression, heaviness and any thoughts of despair or suicide. She agreed with me by saying, Amen.
As I walked back home, the Lord reminded me that about 2 weeks ago she had mentioned to me that she was in so much pain, she had considered ending her life. We talked about it and she made jokes about her husband looking good in all black – he happened to be walking behind us dressed in all black. I told her I would pray for her and I had. Later I looked up the condition she had and an article said it was called “the suicide disease” because so many people find the pain so unbearable that it drives them to consider suicide.
Wow, thank God He gave me a warning to be on the look out for this spirit of death. I’ve been checking on her every day since then – her procedure is in 3 days. Would you mind saying a prayer for her that she finds relief from the pain?
Let me know if you have any emergency maneuvers that you use when nothing else seems to work. Comment below – I’d love to hear them!
By the way, you see why I write this blog – you can’t make this stuff up! It’s just too unusual.
Companionship with Christ
Did you know that you can enjoy the companionship of Jesus Christ?
I don’t often hear this mentioned when people discuss matters of faith. Jesus Christ is real – He’s alive and active in the world today. He wasn’t just a historical figure known for teaching people to love one another. Most people have heard that he was killed (crucified, you’ve seen the statues, right?), but did you know He also rose from the dead? (Maybe it’s a little harder to make that into a statue.)
Jesus is the only one who died, came back to life in his physical body and then went to heaven (without dying again). What’s unique is that He told His disciples before He left – I will always be with you. (Matthew 28:20)
This is not something theoretical – this is real and practical. Have you ever experienced the companionship of Christ?
The other night I was laying in bed thinking of something – praying about something that was on my mind. I can’t recall now exactly what it was. Probably worried about someone I love – that’s usually what’s on my mind before I fall asleep. As I was talking to Jesus, I became aware of His presence. One minute I was alone in the room, talking to the ceiling and the next minute I was not. He was there. It was a gentle, comforting sense that He was listening, paying attention, keeping me company.
I was reminded that Jesus said, “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Comforter.” And He promised about this Comforter, “He will never leave you.” (John 14:16)
In The Message Bible, it says it like this:
“I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you.”
That’s really unique. A Friend who will always be with you.
Companionship is really important – we are not meant to do life alone. Though if we’re honest, most of us feel alone. In our innermost thoughts and worries, no one really knows what we’re thinking or how we are feeling.
Even when surrounded by other people, many people feel alone. There’s just no way another person can know what it’s like to be YOU.
Except Jesus. He’s the exception – He can know. That’s really amazing, isn’t it?
When you allow Him into your life, He brings with Him the knowledge He has about you, about life, about other people and what they are like. And most of all – He brings His love, His comforting presence, His companionship.
He wants to be our companion in life. He wants us to enjoy His friendship – to be aware of His ever-present help and support.
I love that about Him. Think about the story of Adam and Eve in the garden. It was God who came looking for them. Why? To spend time with them. You get the impression from the story that He often came “walking in the garden in the cool of the day” to hang out with Adam and Eve. He likes our company.
I encourage you to consider the companionship of Christ. He can be with you if you’d like. Invite Him to make you aware of His presence. Talk to Him. Look for Him. Give yourself permission to enjoy and receive His friendship.
He likes you and He enjoys being with you. ❤
Looking for more? This article appears in a free ebook called Intimate Relationship with God – you can download it here. 🙂
Help Me, Holy Spirit!
“Help Me, Holy Spirit!”
I have found this to be the BEST prayer for everyday life. The Holy Spirit is referred to as our Helper in John 14:26:
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things,
and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. – Jesus Christ, The Bible
Oftentimes we don’t know what to pray. Life situations can overwhelm us. We can get so tired or so busy that it seems like an effort to connect with God.
Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be sent to us by the Father. The Spirit has many functions – one of which is to help us! Isn’t that cool?
I don’t know about you, but I need help every day.
When I’m trying to figure out what to cook for dinner and my mind is drawing a blank, I say, “Help me, Holy Spirit!”. Pretty soon a dinner menu drops into my mind with the ingredients I need (or already have on hand). I know what to make and I know how to make it. Instantly! Sometimes when my family asks, “What is this?” I tell them, “This is a new dish – never before seen on the earth! It’s a new creation. I hope you like it.” They dig in and usually love it! But don’t ask me to make it again because I won’t remember how I made it. It’s like art – you can’t mass produce it and make “prints” from it. 🙂
When I haven’t slept well and the day seems challenging with all that I need to accomplish, I have often found myself walking toward the store saying, “Help me, Holy Spirit.” I discover the energy I need to accomplish all that is on my list to do that day. When I fall into bed that night, I am often amazed at how much got done. I whisper, “Thank you, Holy Spirit, I know that was YOU.” The Spirit can quicken our mortal bodies to have the energy we need to finish our daily race (Romans 8:11).
When a friend calls with a serious relationship problem or a deep question about the meaning of life, I silently pray, “Help me, Holy Spirit!”, as I listen with my heart. Miraculously I open my mouth and say things that seem to help. Often times I’ve never even thought of the things I say – I learn even as I’m speaking! It’s really cool – instant download of new revelation from the Holy Spirit. I call that “hands-on training”. One minute I had no idea what to say and the next minute I sound like I have all this wisdom to help my friend. That’s the Holy Spirit!
Jesus said the Holy Spirit would help us by teaching us all things. He also said the Spirit would bring things to our remembrance. That is very comforting – especially as our minds age and we start forgetting things. Whenever my husband or I misplace something (i.e. keys, wallet or glasses), we cry out, “Help me, Holy Spirit!” and guess what? The missing item shows up. Every time.
I remind people who are in school that if they are struggling with a specific subject (i.e. Calculus, for instance) that they can pray, “Help me, Holy Spirit!”. They will receive supernatural “teaching” to help their mind comprehend what is necessary. And it can’t hurt to pray that same thing just before a test, asking the Spirit to bring to your remembrance the material that was studied. I often experienced supernatural memory recall when I was studying and taking tests for my Masters degree. It reduces your anxiety about big tests when you rely on the Holy Spirit to teach you and help you. 🙂
There are so many situations where this simple prayer can help
- making decisions
- parenting children
- choosing a career
- planning a vacation
- making new friends
- developing a business idea
- making sales calls
- writing a proposal
I encourage you to practice saying this prayer this week and then watch to see what happens. Please come back and tell us what you experienced!
I love this simple prayer! It cultivates in me an attitude of reliance on the Holy Spirit to lead me, guide me, teach me and help me. 🙂
Looking for more? This article appears in a free ebook called Intimate Relationship with God – you can download it here. 🙂
I designed a coffee mug to help me remember to call on the Holy Spirit for help – want one? 🙂 Click here