“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 with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26).
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayer and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
One of the keys to a powerful intercessory prayer life is praying “in the Spirit.” Dutch Sheets states boldly, “Without any doubt the greatest single key to successful intercession is learning to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, allowing him to be all he was sent to be in us.” Happily, the Holy Spirit is both willing and able to give us the prayer help that we need. But we do have to learn to cooperate with Him.
Having acknowledged that “we do not know what we are to pray,” Paul asserts that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness.” The weakness of which he speaks is a weakness in prayer. The Greek word for weakness (asthenes) is literally “strength-less.” In calling our prayer lives strength-less, Paul is not referring to an occasional glitch in our praying but an underlying disability. When it comes to prayer we are all disabled.
We know intuitively that Paul’s assertion about our weak prayer lives is true. I don’t think that I have ever met another Christian who didn’t think his or her prayer life needed to be improved. But the question remains, how? There are so many distractions, and there is so little time in our busy schedules. Nothing is easier to neglect. The truth is we cannot develop a meaningful prayer life in our own strength. God must be in it, and He is ready and willing to help.
The Father is in the prayer-assistance business. He has appointed His Son, Jesus, to be our enthroned prayer assistant, and His Holy Spirit to be our indwelling prayer assistant. The Son does His assisting at the Father’s right hand. The Spirit does His assisting from His place within our hearts. The Spirit is able to more than make up for what is lacking in our prayer lives. He is the all-sufficient helper. He knows all about us and all about prayer. He has the power to compensate for our weaknesses and the wisdom to enhance our prayer lives. And He wants to help us be strong in prayer. It’s to God’s advantage as well as our own.
Holy Spirit, You are very near and present within me. You know the heart of the Father and desire to walk alongside of me as I intercede before the throne of grace. Thank You for strengthening my prayer life as I look to You for help rather than relying upon my own effort. Show me how to cooperate with You to bring people and situations to God the Father in the Name of Jesus, the Son, so that His desires are brought about upon this earth.
–Adapted from Praying God’s Heart (Prayers that Make a Difference) by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God that he is the Chief Shepherd, preparing for you the crown of glory that will not fade (1 Pet. 5:4). Thank him for leading you like a shepherd to well-watered gardens. Confess those times you stray like a lost sheep and forget God’s commands (Ps. 119:176). Commit your life to doing what is pleasing to God (Heb. 13:20-21). Ask him to help you recognize false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ferocious wolves (Mt. 7:15).
Many have family members who are like sheep without a shepherd (Mt. 9:36). Pray that God will use you as a shepherd in some way today.
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.