This morning at Redeemer I'm preaching out of Ephesians 6:18-20 and Philippians 1:3-11, on "praying in the Spirit." Note the little word "in." This is one of the apostle Paul's favorite words. In his letters he uses "in Christ" and variations of "in Christ" 180 times.
To pray "in the Spirit" is to pray, connected with the Spirit because Jesus-followers are new creations "in Christ." This is about our new ontological status, rather than some "method" of praying. It relates to what Jesus said in John 14-15 about "abiding" in him.
This is prayer as a "conversation." This is prayer-as-relationship."
These "in"-phrases refer to dwelling consciously in the presence of the Holy Spirit himself, a presence characterized by the Godlike qualities of power, love, joy, truth, holiness, righteousness, and peace. To pray “in the Holy Spirit” is to pray with the conscious awareness of God’s presence surrounding us and sanctifying both us and our prayers. (See Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology)