Prayer is essentially a cry for whatever is “up there” to come down here. Our hope is that the deity on high will send some help to us below. Hebrews 4:16 says as much; with “confidence [we] draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.”
I’ve heard all kinds of praying attempting to get heaven to come to earth.
People praying the rosary.
People reciting the Lord’s prayer.
People filling their prayer with Thee’s and Thou’s.
People praying in unknown languages.
People praying on their knees.
People praying while prostrate.
People praying while standing and arms lifted.
Prayers that declared and commanded things.
Prayers that decreed things.
Prayers that lacked words and only made sounds.
Prayers that sounded like thunder.
Prayers that begged.
Prayers that were uncomfortably long.
Prayers that fumbled for the right words.
Prayers over food and prayers over incurable diseases.
Prayers aimed at the devil and prayers in Jesus name.
But what makes prayer effective?
There seems to be an unspoken belief that prayer is like a combination lock; the dial must turn to the right numbers and in the right order before it can be unlocked. We are looking for the exact right words, the exact right amount of faith coupled with the exact right amount of humility to unlock the hand of God.
I think all of this misses one big teaching of the Bible found in Romans 8:26; Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
We don’t know how to pray as we ought.
We don’t even know what to pray for.
Praying the exact right kind of prayers is our weakness.
Even prayer warriors aren’t praying perfect prayers.
Our prayer life needs help. The Holy Spirit is more than happy to take the words that we are praying, and to take the heart that we praying with, and shaping those words into something that moves the heart of God. The Holy Spirit is praying right along with us. Our feeble words and expressions to God are reshaped and repackaged by the Holy Spirit himself. It’s not our exact right wording that is unlocking the gates of heaven, it is the Holy Spirit who is interceding for us.
My weakness is that I often don’t know what to pray or even how to pray for certain things. My weakness is that I pray for myself way too much and for others way to less. My weakness is that I often don’t have faith. My weakness is that I often ask for things that I think are best when they aren’t. But no worry, the Holy Spirit helps me in my weakness. The Holy Spirit knows exactly what is needed. The Holy Spirit knows what the will of God is. He “fixes” my frail prayers.
Don’t stop praying! Our wonderful helper, the Holy Spirit, helps our prayers to release the will of God being done on the earth as it is in heaven.
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