By means I mean the instrument, or the way, by which prayer comes to us. The means of prayer is the Holy Spirit; and that will never change. The Holy Spirit will always be the means (the instrument) of our prayers. He will forever give us access to God’s throne; He will forever give us confidence to approach Him; and He will forever make our prayers acceptable to Him.
At this present time, because of our sinful condition, we are weak in prayer, and so we especially need the Holy Spirit to help us pray. He gives us access to God by reason of Christ’s shed blood for us. That is, if we have received Him and His blood has been applied to our heart, the Spirit will lead us to God’s throne (Rom. 5:2; Heb. 4:16).
If for some reason we think that God may not accept us, that we are not worthy and don’t feel confident to approach Him, the Spirit is always with us to intercede for us and give us confidence. Romans 8:16-17 tells us that “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ…”
As we begin to pray, if we think that we may not have all the right words, He helps us with that too. Romans 8:26 says, “…The Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
In heaven, the Holy Spirit will still be our means of prayer. We will always be fully dependent on Him for our strength in prayer. He will forever give us access to God based on Christ’s shed blood for us; He will forever give us confidence to approach Him as He perpetually bears witness to us that we are His children; and He will forever make our prayers acceptable to God—not only because He will have taken away our sins, but also because He will remain our help in pray. That is, He will forever be praying in us and through us.
But how does all this work? How does the Holy Spirit now help us, and how will He continue in heaven to help us pray so that our prayers are answered? Here are two related ideas:
1. He helps us pray in Jesus name (according to God’s will) by uniting us to the Spirit of the Father and the Son. Here the idea is that the Holy Spirit unites our spirit with the Spirit of the Father and the Son so that we become one with Them and get to know Them just as They (the Father and the Son) are one with each other and know each other. Hence, when we receive the Spirit of the Father we will get to know the Father’s heart and all the plans He has for us. And when we become one with the Son we will experience His great love for us and for the Father. And we will learn how to pray as He prayed—to have that humble, perfect attitude in prayer that He has toward His Father. Moreover, when we become one in spirit with the Father and Son we will take on God’s identity; we will therefore pray in His name, and receive from Him whatever we desire. That is because our desires will be the same as His desires (Jn. 14:10-14 and 17:20-23).
2. He brings us to God’s Word and He helps us abide in Him through His Word. Our abiding in Him is how the Spirit gets us involved in the process of prayer, and the way He helps us to pray in unity with the Father and the Son. It is the way we get to know God and the way we are able to pray according to His will and in Jesus name.
Here is the process: first the Spirit gets our attention by creating a desire in our heart for God and His Word. He will then point out to us something in the Word that He wants us to ponder and think about. As we meditate on that passage He will open it up to us and help us to understand it. Through it all, He will help us to know God and what His will is for us.
The more we meditate on His Word and come to understand it and obey it, the more the Holy Spirit renews our mind so that our whole person and behavior is transformed into a new person—like Christ (Rom. 12:1-2). When we are being transformed (or made to be more like Christ) this is when the Holy Spirit unifies us with the Father and the Son and when we come to know God’s will (Rom. 12:2).
The apostle John has described (in John 15) the result of our transformation as bearing fruit. And the fruit that we bear is the answers to our prayers (Jn. 15:16). In John 15:7-8 it says, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit…” Here, in John 15, John understands that when we abide in God’s Word we are also in a sense praying. And the result of this abiding prayer is that prayers are answered—which is the fruit.