In Ephesians chapter 6, Paul challenges us to pray in the Spirit (v. 18). That brings up an interesting question: Is it possible to pray in the flesh? Absolutely!

Remember how Jesus came down hard on the Pharisees in Matthew 6? He said we shouldn’t pray like them because they were performing for people. Instead, Jesus told us to pray in a closed room—some private place where no one can see us.

But even then, isn’t it possible that many of us see prayer as a duty to be fulfilled through self-effort, rather than an opportunity to communicate with God?

Let’s consider this simple and pure definition of prayer:

Prayer is an intimate conversation with the One who passionately loves you and lives in you. Prayer is an interaction that takes place in and through the Holy Spirit.

Paul says there are going to be times when it’s impossible for us to pray. But we can take heart because “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).

Prayer is not something you “do” in your own strength; it’s something the Spirit, who is in you, does through you. We don’t even have to use words, when in our weakness, we might not even know what to say. But God knows the mind of the Holy Spirit in us. If you enter the intimate conversation with the One who loves you, the Spirit in you will intercede and lead you.

You could start with words as simple as this: Lord, help me surrender to You in prayer. Holy Spirit, pray through me. According to Your will, lay things on my heart that You want to talk about today. Amen.

Request Jill’s book Prayer That Works to learn more about intimate conversation with God.