From Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer by J. Oswald Sanders. Chapter 11 "Prayer and Leadership" is such a dynamic chapter that I'm having difficulty choosing the best parts to quote here--it is ALL worth quoting. For the remainder of May I'll follow the Holy Spirit's promptings to zero in on the quotes He indicates as critical at this time.
From pages 88-89.
To pray in the Spirit is important for two reasons. First, we are to pray in the realm of the Spirit, for the Holy spirit is the sphere and atmosphere of the Christian's life. In this we often fail. Much praying is psychical rather than spiritual, in the realm of the mind alone, the product of our own thinking and not of the Spirit's teaching. But real prayer is deeper. It uses the body, requires the cooperation of the mind, and moves in the supernatural realm of the Spirit. Such praying transacts its business in the heavenly realm.
Second, we are to pray in the power and energy of the Spirit. "Give yourselves wholly to prayer and entreaty; pray on every occasion in the power of the Spirit" (Ephesians 6:18 NEB). For its superhuman task, prayer demands more than human power...praying in the Holy spirit releases supernatural resources...
Spiritual leaders should know the experience of praying in the Spirit as part of their daily walk. Do we ever try to live independently of the Spirit? Do we fail to see full answers to prayer? We can read all day about prayer, and experience little of its power, and so stunt our service.
...The praying Christian wields no personal power and authority, but authority delegated by the victorious Christ to whom that faithful believer is united by faith. Faith is like a network through which the victory won on Calvary reaches the devil's captive and delivers them from darkness into light.
Lord, that question burns a whole in my heart--"Do we ever try to live independently of the Spirit?"
Do I ever try to live without air? No. I'm surrounded by air. My lungs fill with air with each breath. Every cell of my body is dependent upon the oxygen in that air for it's very life. I'm surrounded by air and filled with air and totally dependent upon air to live.
But I do try to live without the Spirit. I try to make decisions without seeking His guidance. I try to plan events and my future without asking Him first about His will for me. I try to do my good deeds without asking for His approval or direction. I pray for countless people's requests without first seeking out the will of Your Spirit for those requests.
How many times do my prayers to You, Father, begin in my head instead of in the mind of the Holy Spirit? How many of my good deeds begin in my mind, or even in my emotions, without being filtered through the Holy Spirit? How many day-to-day choices do I make without ever consulting Your Holy Spirit?
I have sinned, Lord. Forgive my spiritual impetuousness. Forgive my tendency to be self-reliant rather than Holy Spirit-reliant.
Live in the Spirit, Little One. Walk in the Spirit. Sit and stand in My Holy Spirit. Let each word that pours from your mouth find its first resting place in the Spirit. Let each of your deeds hatch from the safe nest of My Spirit. Let the prayers of your heart begin in the heart of the Holy Spirit.
Then, they cannot help but agree with My perfect will for you. They cannot but help to be part of My perfect plan for you.
And I cannot help but to answer those prayers that My Spirit has planted in your heart. Prayers for you and your life. Prayers for so many other people, too.
Pray in the heart-desires, and in the divine power of the Spirit.