Chapter 8: Receiving Help When You Don’t Know How to Pray

    • The Holy Spirit prays for us in a power we don’t own. Our weakness will run out, but the Holy Spirit will keep going. When you fall asleep, are too weak, or just emotionally exhausted, the Spirit of God steps in and gives you the strength you need to continue in prayer.
    • The Holy Spirit prays for us with wisdom we lack.
    • The Holy Spirit prays for us in mercy we could never fathom.
    • The Holy Spirit prays for us with a connection we don’t possess. Who better to bring our requests to the Father than the Spirit? Being a part of the Trinity they possess a connection beyond what we can imagine. Nothing can separate us from the Father because the Spirit is that bond.
    • The Holy Spirit prays for us with God’s will in mind.
    • The Holy Spirit prays for us with love we can’t contain.

Be encouraged that you are not expected to know the will of God in every respect. There is one who knows. And he is praying the way one ought to pray who knows. Don’t add to your burdens the worry that you don’t know all the will of God.
Be encouraged that in your perplexity and groaning you are not being watched, you are being understood. God is searching your heart, and he is finding in your holy groanings a meaning deeper than words – the meaning of the Spirit himself.

Be encouraged that God’s work for you is not limited to what you can understand and express with words. Be glad that God is able to do exceedingly above all that you ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).

Be encouraged that in your weakness and sickness and loss and hardship and danger the Spirit of God is praying for you and not against you. The Spirit intercedes FOR us, not against us. Be encouraged that as you cling to Christ and groan for his exaltation in your uncertainty and pain, the Spirit is for you and not against you.

Finally, be encouraged that God the Father hears the prayer of the Spirit. This prayer is for you. And it is always heard! Always answered, God does not reject the prayers of God.

When the Spirit inspires and directs the groanings in our hearts, the ultimate purpose of the universe happens: God gets the glory because God the Spirit creates the groanings in us; God gets the glory because God the Father is the one who hears and performs what the Spirit asks; God gets glory because God the Son purchased for sinners every blessing they ever receive; and God gets glory because our hearts are made the theater for this divine activity, so that we know and experience God’s gracious intercession for us and consciously give him thanks and praise.

When you feel very weak, because of suffering or decay or sickness or futility or persecution or failed plans or baffling decisions, don’t despair, as if God is angry with you or at your inability to know what to do or what to pray. At that very moment, experience the wordless groanings of your heart as groanings for the glory of Christ. And trust the Spirit of God to intercede for you about the specifics. Trust him, that because he is praying for you, your Father will bring about decisions and circumstances that will magnify Christ in the best way – in the very midst of your ignorance and groaning.

But, Paul is saying much more than that. This is not simply a passage to turn to when we feel like our prayer life is not quite what we would like it to be. Instead, Paul is pointing to a universal condition among Christians: “we do not know what to pray for as we ought.” It’s not just that the Spirit intercedes for us when we are unsure how (or what) to pray. Even when we feel like our prayer life is going along pretty good, we still need the Spirit to intercede for us.That brings us to Romans 8:26-27. If we’re honest, there have been times in all our lives when prayer has been difficult; and likely there have been seasons when prayer has been almost impossible. Can you think of a time in your life as a follower of Jesus when prayer has felt futile, yet you kept trying to pray? Or maybe a time when you wanted to pray, but circumstances in your life left you wordless? I imagine there are some of you who, at times, simply gave up and stopped trying to pray (at least for a season). Regardless of which camp you have found (or now find) yourself in, the promise in these two verses should bring great comfort. The Holy Spirit intercedes for you at times like these.

What should bring us even more comfort is that, as the Spirit groans with us and for us, he groans in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:27 tells us that the Spirit intercedes for us in accordance with the will of God. We may not always pray in accordance with the will of God, but the Spirit does. And God answers.

Here is wonderful news for us. When you don’t know how to pray, the Spirit of God is there to help. When you run out of words, God understands your wordless sighs. When all you have to bring before God are your tears, he can read the meaning of each one. Moreover, as amazing as it sounds, the triune God is praying with you, through you, and even for you. God enters into the brokenness of our world and our lives, sharing even in our groaning.

My Utmost for His Highest / November 8 / Oswald Chambers – The unrivaled power of prayer

We realize that we are energized by the Holy Spirit for prayer; and we know what it is to pray in accordance with the Spirit; but we don’t often realize that the Holy Spirit Himself prays prayers in us which we cannot utter ourselves. When we are born again of God and are indwelt by the Spirit of God, He expresses for us the unutterable.

He, the Holy Spirit in you, makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God . (Romans 8:27). And God searches your heart, not to know what your conscious prayers are, but to find out what the prayer of the Holy Spirit is.

The Spirit of God uses the nature of the believer as a temple in which to offer His prayers of intercession. “ ….your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit…..” (1 Corinthians 6:19). When Jesus Christ cleansed the temple, “….He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple” (Mark 11:16). The Spirit of God will not allow you to use your body for your own convenience. Jesus ruthlessly cast out everyone who bought and sold in the temple, and said, “ My house shall be called a house of prayer “¦. But you have made it a ˜den of thieves “ (Mark 11:17).

Have we come to realize that our “body is the temple of the Holy Spirit “? If so,  we must be careful to keep it undefiled for Him. We have to remember that our conscious life, even though only a small part of our total person, is to be regarded by us as a  “temple of the Holy Spirit. “  He will be responsible for the unconscious part which we don’t know, but we must pay careful attention to and guard the conscious part for which we are responsible.

Chapter 8 Questions

    1. Page 63   Any  thoughts  / discussion / personal sharing relating to “… his tears were the only prayer that he could muster “  .   
    2. Page 64  When you are weak and don’t know what to pray, do you push through and try and pray on your own, or do you lean upon the Holy Spirit.  Discuss   “ integrity of heart “.
    3. Read Romans 8:26-27   Share any insights from the book or the notes that increased your awareness of what the Holy Spirit does for us during prayer .
    4. Page 65   “ Sometimes when we pour out our desires to God He appears to be indifferent “. Have you felt that way? What is your response when this happens?

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