Praying in times when we do not know how to pray.
Read Romans 8:16-30
“We do not know how to pray as we should, but he Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
There are times in our Christian life where we are at a loss how to pray. When we are going through difficult circumstances, we are so overwhelmed we do not even know what to pray. The pain and turmoil leave us spiritually paralyzed and prayer just becomes a groan for God. Paul was well aware of the difficulty of praying in times of adversity. He suffered physical persecution. He dealt with apprehension, fear, anxiety, and even depression. He struggled with sin and temptation. One writer describes the “weakness” as the “fainting condition with which the believer is sometimes overtaken under the weight of present suffering.” How can we effectively pray when we are uncertain even what to ask? Even without trials, there are still times when we are unsure what we should be praying for. We look at the challenges we face in life, our job, or our home, and we are uncertain what even to pray. It is one thing to pray for God to act when we have a clear idea of what needs to happen, but how do we pray when we are not even sure of what God should do? There are times when we do not know the best outcome, nor are we clear on the best way to attain the outcome. We even struggle to understand prayer itself, and our lack of faith plagues our prayers.
Uncertainty in prayer can also come in times when everything seems to be going well. Because there are no struggles on the horizon, we can develop a false sense of security. We do not know how to simply pray because we do not see the dangers that surround us. We fail to see the emotional and physical threats; more importantly, we fail to see the spiritual threats. As a result, we fail to pray simply because we see no need to pray.
In these times of spiritual confusion, we are not left to flounder in the seas of ambiguity and uncertainty. God has given us a helper, the Holy Spirit, not only to guide us but even to intercede for us. He enters into the prayer closet with us to join in our prayers and intercede on our behalf. While we groan in our adversity, the Holy Spirit groans on our behalf. He prays on our behalf in a manner that is imperceptible to us. However, while we become lost in our confusion, the Holy Spirit prays with clarity and effectiveness. When he intercedes for us, he does so in conformity to God’s will. While we struggle to know God’s will and to pray in accordance with God’s will, the Holy Spirit prays with complete clarity and knowledge of the Father’s will for us. Because the Father and the Spirit are in complete unity, and because the Spirit is intimately involved in our lives and he knows us better than we know ourselves.
Furthermore, the Holy Spirit is fully cognizant of the spiritual threats that engulf us. Because of this, He intercedes for us even when we do not fail to see the threats that engulf us. In light of his intercession, we can have confidence and assurance that God is answering the needs we pray for and the needs that we do not even recognize. As you pray today, be thankful for God's protective care and watchful concern for your wellbeing.