In high school my friend Janny would tell me about the Lord, and then I went on dates with Barb and would tell her what Janny told me. It wasn't long before I believed and gave my life to the Lord, as I had watched many answered prayers Janny and her boyfriend (and future husband) received, and knew somehow in my heart all she had told me about the Lord was true.
But Barb and I had many, many dates over the course of a few months talking through the merits of Jesus and my new-found born again state of existence. Barb's home life was not a happy one and she never has made decisions lightly nor quickly.
Looking back we might say 'the Lord was working on her heart' those months before she got to the point she was willing to decide for Christ. In fact, it wasn't until her lowest point in life that she called out to the Lord saying in part, "God, if you're real like John says you are, then you better show up or...." and at that point as she describes it, a warmth and peace saturated her very being like a liquid blanket of love falling directly on her - love she had never known swept over her.
Before you were born again...
That decision for Jesus we made as 16 year olds was quicker for me than her, but it was still a process for us both. The decision was arrived at only after discussion, thought, and seeing other's prayers answered. The Bible describes this process as 'enlightenment'.
Different words are used in the New Testament to describe the process by which divine revelation is shown a person, including 'open the eyes of your understanding'*, 'enlightened', 'opened their understanding', 'spiritual wisdom', 'spiritually discerned', to name a few. *Ephesians 1:18, Hebrews 4:4, Luke 24:45, Ephesians 1:17, Colossians 1:9, I Corinthians 2:14-16
You were first 'enlightened' in your spirit man. That process is when your mind realizes something else is happening deep in your spirit - that you realize you must do something about the question of Jesus.
Jesus said it this way: "...everyone who sees the Son, and believes on Him, will have everlasting life..." and "...everyone who has heard, and learned of the Father, comes to Me." John 6:40, 45
First we see the Son, and then we believe. First we learn of the Father even though most of the time we never realize it is the Father God dealing with us way down deep in our hearts - our spirit man - and then we come to Jesus.
When Peter exclaimed after hearing everyone's opinions about Jesus; "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!", Jesus said flesh and blood - natural means- didn't reveal that to him, but it was the Father in heaven revealing it. Did Peter realize it was the Father showing him who Jesus was? The fact Jesus had to tell him it was the Father, makes me think Peter didn't know it at the time.
Paul's prayers always involved the request for revelation, which is another word for enlightenment, as in "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, would give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, that the eyes of your understanding would be enlightened, and you would know the hope of His calling..." Ephesians 1:17-18
Know your spirit
For people who have difficulty with their prayer language, I suggest thinking back to that time of enlightenment before you knew the Lord - what stirred down inside you? Realizing your mind notices things happening down inside you, feelings, sensations, even thoughts and ideas flowing from your spirit recognized in the mind as quiet suggestions your mind 'picks up on', is key.
We live in such a cerebral world, an emotional world, people don't think through what happens when our mind notices something down deep in our spirit. This is what I'm describing. Learn to recognize when your thoughts are picking up what your spirit is sensing - you know it already, like when you argue with the Lord about something. He isn't in your mind, but in your spirit, and you are weighing whether to go with what you feel you should do vs what your mind is telling you. Taking the step of faith to trust what you sense in your spirit is a key first step opening the door to a new way of life.
Think of your mind as the middle point of a teeter totter with your spirit on one end and your body on the opposite end. Your mind can shift attention outward to the body and natural senses, and can look the other way down inside you to your spirit man and what it senses. Your mind can argue against either one - your body wants to go one way but your mind overrules it, or your spirit wants to go one way and your mind overrules it. Learn to agree with your spirit, end the argument, take the step of faith. Hebrews 5:14 says it is by reason of use (trial and error) that we train our senses to discern between good and evil. It doesn't just happen to you, you must live it and walk it out.
My experience is most Christians don't know how to flow in worship (or prayer) out of their spirit. The proof is when I'm leading a meeting and I have the music stop or go into the background and I ask people just to worship - and there is silence. I spend a lot of time in meetings teaching people how to flow out of their spirits - and when they do a whole new world opens up - the Lord opens their eyes to His realm, they feel and sense things they never have before. But this is a way of life, flowing in worship, in prayer, in pure motivation of love towards others - with no other strings attached than wanting them to grow in Christ.
Practice by worshipping on your own, just you and the Lord. Do so not by putting on a cd, but just get in touch with the thankfulness down in your heart you feel, the love you feel, the appreciation you feel to the Father and Lord for saving you - then once in touch with how you really feel about your salvation, express that in words - put that love and appreciation and thankfulness into words and tell Him. That is pulling from your spirit man out your soul using your body - spirit to soul to body in the divine flow of life.
Jesus said in John 4:24 the Father is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and truth. The Greek word 'worship' is proskuneo, 'pros' means 'toward' and 'kuneo' means 'to kiss'. Literally, worship is 'give a kiss to the Father'. You can't do that with the mind wandering, singing beautiful lyrics outwardly while your mind wanders about whether you turned the light over the sink off before you left the house. Spend time on your own, get in touch with yourself deep down inside as to why you appreciate and are thankful for being saved, and then with your mind focused on forming those feelings into words, speak them out.
Walk through your daily life being aware of your spirit man by switching your attention from the outward things happening to inside, for instance to see how what the boss says feels in your spirit, how what the co-worker says, what the neighbor says. Often there is no feeling, but when someone does say something that is from God for you, whether they are aware or not, it will cause a surge of excitement or revelation in your spirit that your mind will notice - that is your spirit. When you open your mouth to hurt another person or exalt yourself and your mind notices you feel grieved down inside - that is your spirit. Live by switching attention continually back and forth between the natural senses and your spirit man's senses...a whole new realm awaits.
New subject next week, until then, blessings!