Search This Blog

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Aching to pray

We often discount the influence of God's Spirit within us, but also how much he does on our behalf as we walk through the daily grind.  If you have ever been at the point of just not knowing what to do next because the situation just seems to be overwhelming you, you probably have been at the point you just want to give up instead of plunging ahead.  In those moments of frustration, the Spirit of God is within us encouraging, exhorting, and elevating us from the position of frustration to the place of possibility.  If we were to be entirely honest here, we'd admit that even our prayers get a little scattered in these times and we might not even want or know how to pray.  Thank goodness we have the Spirit of God to keep those prayers rising to the throne of God even when we cannot figure out how to pray or what to pray!

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.  (Romans 8:26-28 MSG)

I run across so many Christians who just simply tell me they don't pray because they don't know how to pray, what to pray, or when to pray.  This may seem a little too much to believe for some, but trust me, this prayer thing has Christians a little mystified - like it was something we have to get absolutely "right" or it won't "count".  Scripture bears out the truth, though - prayer is not something we have to "get right" in order to make it "count" - it is just our best faith attempt at communicating our heart with Jesus. Sometimes we will do this better than others - words coming easily, thoughts well-ordered, and we aptly express what needs to be expressed.  At other times, words escape us, we don't feel "worthy" to pray, or something as simple as just not feeling like God is going to listen anyway keeps us from even trying.

Scripture tells us to pray without ceasing and to let our needs be known to God as he delights in meeting those needs.  Yet there are times when those "needs" don't seem to be very apparent to us - we know we need God's intervention, but the specifics of that intervention just absolutely escape us. In those moments, we need God's Spirit to intercede through us - he needs to give us the words to speak and make our needs known in the heavenly realms.  Why?  Simply because we are incapable of knowing all we need, or maybe it is because we get a little stymied by the details.  Either way, we need someone else to intervene on our behalf because without this intervention, we continue to walk in circles around the same problems which have been haunting us all along!

Isn't it good to know that God's Spirit knows us better than we know ourselves?  To me, that takes the pressure off!  I don't have to figure this all out on my own - because my life is pretty doggone complicated with me in charge!  Our wordless sighs and aching groans are enough to give him insight into our deepest needs and then he goes to work to express those in only the way he can.  If I interpret this correctly, it isn't the words I speak as much as the heart behind what is spoken - for even my groans and sighs have heavenly meaning!  That is indeed good news to those who believe prayer has to be some "polished" thing - because it isn't!  It is the thoughts and intentions of my heart, mind, will, and emotions - expressed in ways God understands because his Spirit interprets them for us.

Every detail is brought before the throne of God - none escapes him when the Spirit is free to express those details on our behalf.  How then do we enter into this place of allowing the Spirit of God to become our "guide" in prayer? It is quite simple - just ask the Holy Spirit to take what you cannot express and make it plain in the heavenlies.  He will!  It is his delight to do this on our behalf.  We are all inhabited by the Spirit of God when we invite Christ into our lives to be Lord and Savior.  All we need to do then is to rely upon the Spirit to do what he lives in us to do - act as a guide, teacher, intercessor, and companion in the journey.  It isn't rocket science, friends.  Even our need to pray is a concern to God - so much so he provided a means by which the aches of our heart, the groans of our spirit, and the rawness of our emotions may be perfectly formed into prayers which reach the heavenly realms on our behalf!  That's awesome!  Just sayin!