Our Help in Prayer

In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Romans 8:26-27

Does this sound familiar? Determined to spend more time in prayer, you come to the appointed hour, drop to your knees, open your mouth, and—draw a blank. Sure, you manage a few words about what you need the Lord to do for you and your family, but you should be praying for more than that, shouldn’t you?

Yes, you should. Believers’ needs are indeed the Father’s concern; not even the smallest detail escapes His notice. However, He tells His children to imitate Jesus—they should “not merely look out for [their] own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4).

Selfless prayer, though, isn’t natural to us. We too easily (and wrongly) think of God as a genie—someone to do our bidding as we live life our own way. Thankfully, He has supplied a Helper. The Holy Spirit, our willing and able partner in praying effectively, intercedes for us when we can’t “pray as we should” (Rom. 8:26).

How should we cooperate with the Spirit’s intercession for us? First, we must recognize God’s authority, holiness, and glory. Then, we need to submit our lives to His leadership. When we do, God’s will and desires become foremost in importance for us. Finally, we must submit our future to Him, trusting Him to bring great good out of negative as well as positive events in our lives.

In submission to the Holy Spirit, we will discover greater peace and joy. We will also find new words for our prayers to the Father as we bring petitions inspired by His Spirit. Even more importantly, we will develop a deeper understanding of God’s greatness.

Charles Stanley

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