*** This article is part of a blog series by a Guest Author: Nic Thackwray. It is a journey into understanding better God’s Zeal for His House. You can check out the Introduction to the series here. ***
Two weeks ago I tried to answer the question “What is successful prayer?” or “What is the goal of prayer?” My conclusion was that the goal of prayer is to glorify (make much of) God through seeking and then experiencing an encounter with Him, thereby finding our delight in Him. In other words, our focus and desire and delight in prayer is God and this glorifies Him most. John Piper puts it like this, “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.” (This then extends to others coming to encounter God through our prayer by us interceding for them or demonstrating Christ’s likeness and His kingdom to them.)
So where does the Holy Spirit fit in here? After Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He went on immediately to teach about perseverance in prayer and then gave an awesome promise: “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13) I don’t think it is coincidence that Jesus mentioned receiving the Holy Spirit from the Father right after He taught about prayer. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense: the goal of prayer is encounter with and delight in God and the Holy Spirit is God. Therefore being filled with the Holy Spirit fulfills the ultimate goal of prayer: encountering God…to His glory.
With a promise like this, Jesus leaves no doubt that if we ask the Father for His Spirit, He will gladly give us His Spirit! And I don’t think that this is a once off filling with the Spirit. I believe it is an ongoing lifestyle of being filled over and over again. The analogy that Jesus uses of a child asking His Father for food reflects the fact that the Spirit is our spiritual food, our sustenance and nourishment. It is water to our thirsty souls: “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive.” (John7:37-39) The Spirit in our hearts is described as rivers of life-giving water! Not one river…RIVERS! The idea is of a constant, never-ending source of life: the Holy Spirit filling the believer.
Prayer IS being filled with God!
Holy Spirit, fill us now! Fill us anew! Fill us and then fill us again! We will always seek You! May You be glorified as we delight in You above all, as we find our satisfaction, our life, our nourishment in You, Holy Spirit.