PrayWay Global Prayer Community
Home Register About Us Resources Help/FAQ Search Calendar Donate Site News
Forum Store About God Counseling Articles Opportunity Email Team Missions Member Blogs

Praying with Apostolic Passion


For the apostles, prayer was not just a means of ministry, but a way of life. It was not just about performing a duty, but walking daily in a relationship, a loving partnership with God. This kind of prayer life requires a heart that is perfected in love, a habit of devotion, a deep confidence in God and His Word, and a reliance upon the Holy Spirit. These are the principles of apostolic prayer as taught by the apostles themselves.

Preparing Your Heart for Prayer
Prayer is a matter of the heart. For your prayer to be effective, your heart must be prepared, particularly in regard to love. There is a tried and true saying that “Prayer is the key to heaven, but faith unlocks the door.” However, we need to go one step further and understand, with Paul, that “faith expresses itself through love” (Galatians 5.6). This is especially true regarding prayer, and includes both love for God and love for others. James makes the same point, but in terms of desires and motives:

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4.1-3)

Prayer that is full of love for others will not cause fights and quarrels, because it does not covet. Prayer that is full of love for God will not seek to please itself, but God. Part of the problem of unanswered prayer is that we do not ask. But asking out of selfish desires and motives can also keep us from receiving, because we are missing the most important ingredient—love!

Peter put it this way, specifically in the context of the marriage relationship:

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (1 Peter 3.7)

Lack of love, consideration and respect in our relationships can actually hinder our prayers, keeping them from being answered. The solution is found in the love of God—it must be perfected, or made complete in us. We come to this completion by obeying God and loving one another. “If anyone obeys His Word, God’s love is truly made complete in him” (1 John 2.5). “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us” (1 John 4.12).

When the love of God is perfected in us, our prayers will be effective and powerful, for they will be all about Him and not about us. Our prayers will arise out of love, and God will not deny that which He has perfected in us.

The Lifestyle of Prayer
The lifestyle of prayer is a habit of devotion, always in communication with God and fully consecrated to Him. It is a persistent attentiveness to God, a life that holds on to faith and hope, regardless of the circumstances. It is a peaceful life of joy, knowing that God answers prayer. The apostles exhort us to cultivate this kind of devotion:

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12.12)

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 4.2)

Pray continually. (1 Thessalonians 5.17)

I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing. (1 Timothy 2.8)

The end [culmination] of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. (1 Peter 4.7)

To be devoted to prayer means to be diligent about it, to go at it with strong commitment, to stick with it until it has achieved its purpose. To be watchful in prayer means to be alert for what the Lord might be saying or revealing to you. Thankfulness is the oil that lubricates prayer, declaring the goodness and trustworthiness of the Lord and creating a divine expectation about what He is doing.

Praying With Confidence
When you pray, expect to receive. The author of Hebrews said, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11.6). James said,

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. (James 1.5-8)

Don’t be divided about your prayers, going back and forth, worrying about whether or not they will be answered. Faith pleases God and brings reward, but doubt has no guarantee of receiving anything from the Lord. It is the prayer of faith that God hears and answers:

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. (James 5.13-18)

Every believer is capable of offering the prayer of faith. Every Christian is, by definition, righteous, for we have been made the righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5.21). Elijah was no more righteous than we are, but he knew how to pray in faith, so he saw his prayers answered.

John also gives us assurance about our prayers:

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: 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 what we asked of Him. (1 John 5.14,15)

We can have confidence that God hears us when we pray, and that we will have whatever we ask of Him. The secret is to pray according to His will. That is why it is important to study the Scriptures and the prayers of the apostles, for they reveal the will of God. When we pray according to the Word of God, we can know that our prayers are being heard and that the answer is on its way.

The Holy Spirit and Prayer
Every Christian has a helper in prayer, and He is vital to praying with apostolic fire. He is the Holy Spirit, and He has comes to assist us. He does not take over and do it for us, but He grabs hold and pulls together with us in prayer. That is what the word “helps” means in this verse:

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. (Romans 8.26)

The Greek word for “weakness” means “feebleness,” as of body or mind. When it comes to prayer, our minds are feeble—we don’t know what to pray! But God has given us the Holy Spirit to intercede for us with words that go beyond human language. There are many ways He may do this. As we see here, it may even be with inarticulate groans. Some people have called this “travailing prayer,” like the cries of a woman in labor. When the Spirit is at work in us in this way, we can know that God is giving life to something in us and through us.

There are other ways the Spirit helps us pray. Paul spoke about praying in tongues, a practice he engaged in regularly:

For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding; I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. (1 Corinthians 14.14,15 NKJV)

Praying in tongues is an activity of the Holy Spirit at work in our spirit, helping us to pray. In our mind, we may not know what we are praying, but in our spirit, we are communicating with the Holy Spirit. Our spirit knows, even when our mind does not. Paul said, “Anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit” (1 Corinthians 14.2). When we pray in tongues, we are speaking to God and uttering mysteries. In the Bible, a mystery is a secret that God is revealing. When we pray in tongues, God is revealing things to our spirit, even though our mind may not yet comprehend what those things are.

Though our understanding may be unfruitful, when we pray in tongues, something definite and powerful is going on in our spirit. Paul said, “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself” (1 Corinthians 14.4). When we pray in tongues, we are building ourselves up, getting charged up like a battery. This not only affects us in spirit, but in soul and body as well, for out of the spirit flow all the issues of life.

We can pray with the spirit, but we can also pray with the understanding, that is, in ways which our mind knows and comprehends what we are praying. Even so, we must always be sensitive to how the Holy Spirit is leading so that we are leaning on Him and not on our own understanding. Our tendency is to launch out in prayer without listening for the voice of the Lord. Or we simply do not even begin to pray because we do not know what to pray. But if we will stop and listen for the Spirit, He will not only give us what to pray for, but He will also show us how to pray for it.

The Spirit might bring a Bible verse to mind. Pray that verse. He might give a picture or an impression about something. Pray that out. He might show you to pray in tongues for a while, or He might even give you a burden in prayer about which all you can do is groan. Whatever He shows you to do and however He shows you to pray, follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. This is praying in the Spirit.

Paul said, “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6.18). Jude said, “But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 20).

© 2004 Jeff Doles

All rights reserved.


Jeff Doles is the author of Praying With Fire: Learning to Pray With Apostolic Power and Healing Scriptures and Prayers. He and his wife Suzanne are the founders of Walking Barefoot Ministries: preaching, teaching, worship, healing and revival ministry—to help you take the next step of faith in your walk with the Lord, to experience the presence and power of God in your life. For more faith-building articles, or more information about this ministry, visit their website at

This article was brought to you by PrayWay Global Prayer Community.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of PrayWay. It is provided for informational purposes only. As always, weigh everything with the Word of God, which is the only inerrant source of information.

© 2004 - 2005 by Eric Holmlund - All Rights Reserved. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Service.