“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).
I want to share a radical thought. It has transformed my way of praying and my way of thinking about prayer.
For years I believed that my prayers started with me. I had to think them up. I had to get God’s attention. Not surprisingly, with this frame of mind, prayer was often a chore.
I learned that I was wrong. Prayer doesn’t start with us. Prayer starts with God. That’s the radical idea that changed my prayer life. God is the initiator. He moves us to pray. He gives us prayer ideas. He holds out the promises we claim in prayer. 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, who 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.
Lord God, what an amazing and awesome privilege it is to know that You have made a way for all of my prayers to originate in Your heart, so that they are heard and answered. Thank You that I am able to have access to the throne room of heaven because of the gift of Jesus Christ. Help me to be continually aware of the prayer burdens you place upon my heart so that I can be a faithful kingdom intercessor. Teach me to listen carefully to the voice of Your Spirit so that I am always ready to accept each prayer assignment you are pleased to give me! I worship You, King of kings, for loving me so much that You desire to partner with me to accomplish Your purposes!
–Adapted from Be Jesus in Your Neighborhood: Developing a Prayer, Care, Share Lifestyle in 30 Days by Alvin VanderGriend. This resource is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.
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Praise God, the one who is your dwelling place (Ps. 90:1). Thank him for giving you a wonderful inheritance in Jesus Christ, “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade” (1 Pet. 1:4). Confess moments during the past day or week when you’ve looked for other “dwelling places.” Commit yourself to living under the authority and love of your heavenly Father. Ask God to show you today why his “dwelling place” is the best.
Pray that you will be enabled to show to an unbeliever by your word and deed why it is that you trust God as your dwelling place.
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