“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…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.” – Oswald Chambers
It is said that there was a curse from ancient Chinese culture that is translatable as, “May you live in interesting times.” Certainly, the times in which we are living are “interesting.” I have heard many of those who believe in Jesus Christ speaking of their concerns regarding difficult times ahead. For some, their concern is mostly political, as if some political solution or election outcome will determine the spiritual quality of our living. Others point to the pandemic or the civil unrest and upheaval as sources of the difficulties coming upon us. For many, it is all three of these factors and more. As I wrote in the previous post on praying:
“Certainly, we are in times of tumult, uproar, and uncertainty. The underlying conditions present in our society – rejecting our God, selfishness and destructive living, and rampant evil are not only tolerated but promoted and celebrated – are exposing the schemes of Satan, our archenemy. The apostle John told us that the entire world lies under the evil one’s power (1 John 5:19), and he uses the world to bring about his purposes. Satan intends “only to kill, steal, and destroy,” stated Jesus (John 10:10), and he is clearly accomplishing his purposes in our society today.”
I believe the most important course of action for the friends of God in these times is to pray. In fact, to be “devoted to prayer, keeping alert in it with all thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2). We must remember that prayer is about the will of our God. Our perspectives on our own lives and on the events around us are strictly limited. We lack the perspective of our God, which includes the past, the future, His will and glory, and that which is best in light of all factors in the situation. We can pretty much see only what is near us, and we see that incompletely and selfishly.
Thus, it is important to set aside our will as the principle guide to our praying and focus on the will of our God. Our will in prayer is influential only as it connects with the will of our God. It is His will we need to seek and from which we need to pray. Oswald Chambers wrote, “When I stop telling God what I want, He can freely work His will in me without any hindrance.”
Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome about the secret to praying for our God’s will in a way that releases His power in answering. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26 – 27).
When we pray, the Spirit of God in us joins in our praying and interprets our prayers in light of the will of our God. We need not get to bound up in trying to tell our God what to do concerning our requests. We cannot even begin to fathom the deep eternal circumstances or purposes of our God in many matters. So, the Holy Spirit Himself intercedes for us, praying with us according to the will of our God.
The role of the Holy Spirit in our praying in part explains the simplicity of the Lord’s Prayer that is recited in many church meetings each week. That prayer, when thoughtfully prayed in conscious communion with the Holy Spirit within us, is interpreted by the Spirit according to the will of God in each of our individual circumstances.
We know His will is that all should come to repentance, that His word, His light, and His truth goes forth in the world. We know that it is His will for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done here as it is in heaven. We know it is His will that praise, honor, love, and obedience should flow to Himself. We know that He will for us to receive that which we need to physically survive and spiritually thrive each day. For these things we can confidently pray. We need not add a lot pf specific details about the way in which He should go about the answers.
So how shall we pray in these interesting times? We can pray for our God’s name to be revered and hallowed by all believers and many who are not yet believers. We can pray for His kingdom to come and His will to be done in us, our families, our communities, our nation, and the world (be sure to lay aside all partisan political considerations when you do this). We can pray that our daily needs will be met. We can pray for a forgiving spirit to be made clear in us and in all followers of Christ. We can pray to be led away from temptation and delivered from all evil.
We know these issues are the will of our God, but we do not know the “how” by which He will do them. So, we pray in faith, and the Holy Spirit interprets the prayers with groaning too deep for words.
Look for more on why our praying is important in an upcoming post.