~ Guest Post by Tim Pyles ~
Prayer Text for Today is Romans 8:26-27
Most of us experience recurring seasons in our lives when we feel like complete novices at prayer, regardless of whether we’ve been following Jesus for only a few months or have been seeking conformity to His image for fifty years. In times of spiritual dryness or feeling lonely and disconnected in prayer, we may find ourselves enviously wishing that we possessed the prayer life of some revered giant of faith or some noted ancient or contemporary master of devotion.
Today’s prayer text serves as a comforting and emboldening reminder that all of us require the Holy Spirit’s presence and assistance in our petitions to the Father and that none of us have yet graduated from the Savior’s school of prayer.
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God ~ Romans 8:26-27
In prayer, as in all things, human weakness is met with heaven’s power through the Holy Spirit. He truly is our Helper, just as Jesus promised He would be, aiding, assisting, and strengthening God’s children in their prayers.
Although it is not his main point in this text, I am extremely comforted and encouraged by Paul’s choice of pronouns: the Spirit helps our weakness; we do not know how to pray as we should; He intercedes for us. Despite his apostolic calling and authority, his expansive evangelistic experience, and his unrivaled effectiveness in proclaiming the crucified and resurrected Christ, Paul felt the same struggles in prayer that we do. The same Spirit who aided him assists us.
Prayer is not eloquence, but earnestness; not the definition of helplessness, but the feeling of it; not figures of speech, but earnestness of soul. ~ Hannah More
There are moments when we simply cannot find the words to express what our souls feel and our hearts desire. Deeper than that, there are circumstances in life in which we struggle even to form the thoughts for prayer. Overwhelmed, confused, and paralyzed by dilemmas, trials, and traumas, we sometimes don’t even know the questions to ask, much less the answers that we should seek.
The indwelling Holy Spirit serves as a perennial partner in prayer. Prayer is not some solely human enterprise; it is a place where heaven and earth intersect and converse. What I don’t know, the Spirit knows. What I can’t articulate, the Spirit can express in groanings too deep for words. He prays for what is ultimately best for me; not just according to what I desire, but in keeping with divine desires for my life. The Spirit harmonizes my heart with the will of God.
The Spirit’s work on my behalf in prayer is not something for which I have to ask or petition Him. It is an ever-present blessing for which I can just gratefully thank Him. He has been interceding for me since the day He took up residence within me, whether or not I have ever acknowledged or adequately understood His intercessory role in my prayers.
Even in human weakness, prayer is participation in a divine conversation. Prayer is not a human work, but, like all of God’s gifts and commands, it is evidence of God’s work in believers. ~ James R. Edwards
As we approach 2015 and seek greater devotion and discipline in prayer, be encouraged that we are never alone or misunderstood when bringing our thanksgivings and petitions to the throne of God. We have the Father’s full attention, along with His complete knowledge and understanding of our minds and hearts. This immeasurable gift is provided through the intercession of our heavenly advocate Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 4:14-16; 7:25; I John 2:1-2) and the groanings of the entempled Holy Spirit.
Your classmate in Jesus’ school of prayer, TP.
Tim Pyles is the preaching minister for the Broken Arrow Church of Christ in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tim says, “I a child of God, a follower of Jesus, a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, a husband to Kim for 21 years, a father to Hannah and Coleman, a son, a brother, and a minister.” He has certainly been an encouragement to me. This post continues in that spirit of encouragement. He blogs at THINKING OUT LOUD occasionally. You can catch up with him on Facebook HERE.