There are several specific ways that the Holy Spirit helps us in intercession. One of the first things He does is to sanctify us. Since sin hinders prayer, sin has to be dealt with before we can pray. David acknowledged, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18). The Holy Spirit cleanses our hearts and helps us gain victory over sin. Believers “do not live according to the sinful nature” says Paul, “but according to the Spirit,” and he adds a few verses later, “by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body” (Romans 8:4, 13). The Spirit’s sanctifying work is an important first step in helping us pray as we ought.
The Spirit helps by installing Christ in our hearts. When Paul reports his prayers for the Ephesian believers he says: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he [the Father] may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:16–17). It is by means of the Spirit that Christ dwells in us. With Christ in our hearts we are able to think like Christ, love like Christ, and pray like Christ. We can intercede with His heart, His love, and His vision for the kingdom. As new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) we have new-creature capabilities in prayer.
Thank You, Father, that out of Your glorious riches You strengthen me with power through Your Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith! You have given me the ability to intercede with the heart of Jesus. Because I am a new creation, I am able to think, love and pray like Christ and this knowledge completely awes me! Because of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus lives in me and works through me as I become more like Him. “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance” (Psalm 16:6).
–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 your great, mighty, and awesome covenant-keeping God (Neh. 9:32). Thank God for strengthening those whose hearts are fully committed to him (2 Chron. 16:9). Confess those times when you depend on your own strength rather than God’s (Eccl. 5:7). Commit yourself to spending time daily reflecting on God’s awe, his faithfulness, and might (Ps. 89:6-8). Ask God’s forgiveness for neglecting him when hardships arise.
Pray that God’s kingdom will grow as oppressed people recognize God’s awesome majesty and come to him in faith.
“Worship is intended to introduce God’s kingdom power throughout the church and extend that power through the church.” —Jack Hayford
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.