1. We pray according to human understanding; that is, praying about information that our 5 senses have told us. This prayer is dependent upon knowledge gained by the mind. Information for such a prayer is therefore limited; sometimes characterized by misunderstanding, conflict, and failure (James 4:3). The most perfect prayer we can pray mentally and spiritually is the “Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13).

2. We pray "in the spirit" (I Corinthians 14:15 &Jude 20). This prayer originates from the specific direction of the all-knowing Holy Spirit. In this prayer, through the gift of tongues, we speak "mysteries" far beyond human comprehension or human language ( Corinthians 14:2,14).

3. We pray as "the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered’" (Romans 8:26).This groaning-prayer (which is not to confused with the gift of tongues) originates with Jesus’ intercession at the right hand of the Father (Romans 8:34). In response to His prayer, all creation is now in a state of travailing birth-pangs, waiting for its own deliverance from the "bondage of corruption," and the simultaneous "manifestation of the sons of God" (Romans 8:19-23). The prayer Jesus began at the Throne is now permeating the entire Universe. Jesus revealed this when he spoke of the capacity of the stones to "cry out" (Luke 19:40). Some individuals also find themselves drawn into this prayer; in its embrace, they become so far removed from all language, so deep in its penetration into the things of God, so infinite in its breadth, that--like a magnet--they are pulled into its wondrous, universal anticipation. While in such intercession, one feels an overwhelming intimacy with creation’s deepest cry for deliverance.

First of all–the mind by itself, has only five natural sources of information. It receives knowledge from what the body tells it through seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling. These are all marvelous senses with which God has equipped mind and body to function together. We thank God for them-- though none of these senses is spiritual. Consequently, the mind, by itself, is a vastly insufficient tool for the spiritual work of prayer. Christians whose prayer-life is limited to mental-knowledge are depending on human abilities inferior to those of most animals.

God had a reason for creating us with lessor sensible-power than other creatures. He provided us with the all-knowing, all-powerful Holy Spirit. Unlike the limited mental capacities of our human body, the regenerate human spirit is neither confined nor limited. It has potentials greater than all the animal abilities combined. Our spirit has access to the gifts of "wisdom and revelation" which equip it to receive and use knowledge directly from the Holy Spirit. This special equipping is the precise function of the "word of knowledge," "word of wisdom," "discerning of spirits," and other gifts of the Holy Spirit. I Corinthians 12:8-10. While a Polar Bear can smell food 24 miles away and go to it, the Holy Spirit can tell us things happening on the far-side of the globe and enable us to respond. Thank God for the power of prayer!

Chas