Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day.
Chapter 22, Paragraph 3.
“…by the help of the Spirit,…”
Reformed, confessional folk are not known for their reliance on the Spirit. This is not to say that they don’t rely on the Spirit, but if you were to ask a typical evangelical to name denominations that emphasized the Spirit, Reformed Baptists would probably not top the list. Why is this? In Christian culture, reliance on the Holy Spirit has come to be equated with emotion and experience. Rational thought is not associated with Him, and so Reformed churches are not considered to be “Spirit-filled.” Yet as the confession teaches, all Christians are utterly dependent upon the Holy Spirit. Prayer is no exception.
In order for prayer to be acceptable to God, not only does it need to be offered in the name of Jesus, but it is to be offered with the help of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the part of the Godhead that quickens a person unto regeneration. He is the One who applies Christ to the believer, sanctifies her, works faith and repentance in her, produces good works in her, and guides her into all truth. In fact, we have seen through our study of the Confession that a tremendous amount of our life as believers in owing to the Holy Spirit. Why should prayer be any different? This same Holy Spirit enables believers to have access with boldness to the throne of grace, and intercedes on behalf of the believer. Without the Spirit working in a person, their prayers are unacceptable.
Realizing that your prayers are unacceptable unless the Holy Spirit aids them should drive Christians to an even greater dependence upon the Spirit. Not in a blind faith way, devoid of all rationalism, but in an informed trust and confidence. This is the Holy Spirit that has already done so much work in us. May we rely on His help as we offer our petitions to God.
Questions to Consider
- Are you relying on the aid of the Holy Spirit in your prayers?