Tag Archives: prayer

When We Don’t Know How to Pray

praying_handsOne of my constant struggles in prayer is knowing how to pray. We are instructed to pray according to the will of God. But many times, we don’t know God’s ultimate purpose, so how can we truly pray? I believe that God has revealed his will to us in his Word. Sure, there are things that are within his secret counsel, but to simply relegate prayer to “mystery” is not biblical.

But what about those needs that are so overwhelming, so beyond our understanding and solutions, that we just don’t know where to even begin? I’m glad God has given us that answer as well.

Paul tells us, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8.15-16)

In this chapter, Paul is laying out the antidote to the struggle between spirit and flesh expressed in chapter 7. We are give great assurance that we belong to God by the ever present ministry of the Comforter within us. Because we belong to him, we have no reason to fear. But when fears begin to overtake—and the context seems to point to the fear being that of being enslaved to sin once again—we can simply cry out, “DADDY, I NEED YOU!”

Yes, we will suffer in this world. All the things James speaks of in the previous post are ever with us. The struggle of sin in our flesh remains until we are glorified. Yet we are assured of future glory. All creation is presently crying out for redemption, and the promise is sure that our bondage has been/is being/will be completely broken!

As we wait, we groan. But in our groaning we have hope. Cling to the hope of Christ! For we know that if he has truly begun his work in us, he will perfect it in his perfect day.

But we still groan. Life in Christ is a joy, yet there are still great burdens. And when all we know to do is to cry out to our Father,  we still have hope. Paul continues with these glorious words: “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.

What a promise! When we know not what to pray, how to pray, the Spirit of God is praying for us. Yes, Jesus meant what He said when he told us he would leave us an Advocate. If you are his, he is praying for you. And his words are powerful. They are infallible. They are greater than any request we could ever make. And they WILL come to pass!

Just read the end of this great chapter: “And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God ‘s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died —more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

“As it is written,
For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I am overwhelmed just meditating on these things. This is my life. This passage has never been more real and relevant to me than it is right now. My family is going through a very trying time. Even as I type these words, my eyes are clouded with tears. (If you’ve actually read this far, please pray that God will give our family grace!) I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know how to get there. I don’t know how to pray. So many times, I’ve just sat sobbing, crying to my Father without words. And even though I don’t know the future, I know that it’s not in vain.

He holds it all in his hand. My Jesus knows tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…He has not forsaken. And he has promised his Comforter. In this hope we are saved.
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Posted by on March 15, 2015 in Commentary, Devotional


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“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” —James 5.13-18

This is an amazing passage on prayer! Jesus told us to pray and not “lose heart”. Paul told us to pray and “lift up holy hands”. James tells us to pray in all the circumstances of life. If we are suffering, and enduring hardship, we are to pray. Whether it’s because of another that we suffer, or because of our own actions, we have a Friend upon whom we can cast ALL of our cares! Even in times of joy, we are to pray through singing praise to our Sovereign. When we are sick, we are to pray, and seek the prayers of others. How often we fail in this area.

Prayer is a discipline that no amount of academic understanding will develop. So often, we want to understand doctrine and be able to argue all the “finer points”. But if we would understand prayer, we must pray. When asked by his disciples to teach them to pray, Jesus gave them a prayer to model after. And what a prayer it is! But note that his emphasis is not on a “system” of prayer, but on crying out to our FATHER for all our needs. We have not because we ask not, and so often, when we ask, we ask wrongly out of our own lusts. But may we submit to God that he may give us godly desires that will flow out in our prayer.

Do you have a great need? Pray. Are you burdened, whether by emotion, finances, sin, or other sorrow? Pray. We have a Father who cares.

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Posted by on March 14, 2015 in Devotional