Friday, January 12, 2007

The Prayer Partner (Romans № 24)

"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. 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." (Rom 8.26-27 ESV)

One of the biggest mysteries in the Christian life is prayer. Prayer, in itself, isn't hard to understand: a person speaks to God. However, the dynamics of prayer are often hard to grasp. Some things can come to mind:

1. Why pray at all? If God knows everything then when tell him what he already knows?

"Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether." (Psa 139.4 ESV)

2. Why pray with perseverance? If God doesn't forget anything then why pray for something more than once?

"And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart." (Luk 18.1 ESV)

3. How does one pray with confidence that he's saying the right thing? This is the focus of the Romans' passage today. The Apostle Paul says that the Holy Spirit takes our limited ability at praying and translates it, so to speak, so as to pray according to the will of God.

The Spirit of God "groans" for us. I like how Charles B. Williams translates verse 26:

"In the same way the Spirit, too, is helping us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself pleads for us with unspeakable yearnings"

Christian, never believe for a second that you are without a prayer. Jesus is praying for you (Heb 7.25) and so is the Spirit!