“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. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will” (Romans 8:26-27).
When we pray, we are God’s instruments. God is at work in all our praying. He makes his will known to us so that we will ask for the very things he longs to give us. Out of love he burdens us to pray for others so that, in response to our intercession, he can pour out blessings on them. And it’s the Spirit, says Paul, that makes our prayer possible. We don’t know what to pray, but we don’t have to. The Spirit is there revealing God’s will to us in the Scriptures and bringing God’s prayer concerns to life within us. He is nudging us through circumstances and opening our eyes to the needs around us. He is searching our hearts and trying our ways so that he can bring us to true repentance. He is revealing the glory and the goodness of God so that our prayers will be filled with praise and thanks.
We can be confident that God will hear when we come to him. God answers every prayer that starts in heaven, every prayer born in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, every prayer based on a sure promise from his Word. If prayer starts with God, then the first order of business as we learn to pray is to learn to listen to God’s whispers, to tune our hearts to him, to respond to his promptings.
Lord, teach me to pray. Help me to understand your purposes, to feel your burdens, to see what you see, to hear the groans you hear, so that my prayers may be pleasing to you and may accomplish your purposes.
–Adapted from Love to Pray: A 40 Day Devotional for Developing Your Prayer Life by Alvin J. VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.
Praise God, whose name is great among the nations (Mal. 1:11). Give thanks that the gospel has reached around the world and into your heart. Confess any sin that has hindered you from gaining a clear vision of God’s work in the world. Commit yourself to God’s plan for the gospel to be preached in the whole world (Mt. 24:14). Ask God to use you in that plan.
Boldly intercede for the work of gospel missions worldwide. Pray by name for world missionaries whom your church supports. Ask God to protect them and prosper their work.
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