Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
"For we know not what we should pray for as we ought." Do you ever feel like that? I know I do. None of us are immune from life's problems. They come to us all, both sinner and saint. I can not count the number of times when I have prayed in English everything I knew to pray about a certain situation, yet I would exhaust my limited knowledge about the problem in just a few minutes of prayer.
Paul said that "we see through a glass darkly," and that aptly describes how we feel so often in our lives when we have tried to pray. Most of us would pray according to God's perfect will for every situation if we knew precisely what His will was on the matter. It's just that we so often don't know what His perfect will for our individual life is.
On the major issues of life, He has already revealed His will to us in the written Word. For example, it would be useless to pray "Father, do you want me to steal money from my neighbor?" We all know the answer to that sort of question directly from the Word. But what about the details of our individual lives such as, "Father, do you want me to live in Omaha or Tulsa? Do you want me to marry Jane or Mary? Do you want me to be a Christian business person, or do you want me to train for full time ministry?" On and on this list of questions grows as we journey through life.
One day while I was thinking about this the thought came to my mind, "It sure would be nice if the apostle Paul were still alive today. I could find out where he was preaching and go to the meeting. If he offered to pray individually for the people, I would be the very first one in line." In my mind, I could see the apostle Paul laying his hand on my head as he prayed for me. Knowing that Paul was an apostle who had walked with God for decades, I would have supreme confidence that he would know better than me what to pray "as he ought." I would certainly trust Paul to pray God's will for me, wouldn't you?
Right about then it dawned on me … My God, we have been given a "Prayer Partner" who is infinitely more qualified than Paul or any other human being who ever lived. Our Father has given us a "Helper" who will pray God's "perfect" will for our lives every single time. Not only that, this "Helper" already knows every little detail that needs to be included in those prayers. Better still, I don't have to travel to various meetings around the world in order to get this perfect Prayer Partner to pray for me. No, He is with me always!
Our Prayer Helper is none other than the Holy Spirit Himself! Notice again this part of Romans 8:26: "The Spirit itself maketh intercession for us." In Romans 8:27 Paul says, "He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." If we would trust the apostle Paul to pray for us, how much more can we trust the Holy Spirit Himself to pray for us! This is incredibly good news!
Paul says that while the Holy Spirit is making intercession for us according to the will of God, these prayers are expressed in groanings "which cannot be uttered." That statement baffled me for a long time. Why can't they be uttered? Was Paul going "super-spiritual" on me? Was this some kind of deep secret that only apostles know about?
Thank God for the first law of meditation: "Never take a statement out of its context." I kept reading this entire passage over and over again. When the answer came, it was profoundly simple. Paul wasn't being super-spiritual at all. On the contrary, he was giving us an answer so simple we can all do it. Paul is saying "we" can't utter these prayers in our known language because "we don't know what to pray as we ought." Once we have prayed everything we know to pray about the situation in English, that's when we turn to our Prayer Helper, the Holy Spirit, and allow HIM to take over in prayer because He DOES know what needs to be prayed "as we ought."
He prays beyond that "dark glass," which refers to the limited knowledge of our human minds. When we don't know what to "utter" in prayer, He takes over and gives the "utterance" Himself! How does He do that? Notice this verse:
Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, AS THE SPIRIT GAVE THEM UTTERANCE.
Now this seemingly strange sort of prayer called "other tongues" began to make complete sense to my Engineering mind. What could be more practical? By using the prayer language of other tongues, our Father has given us the ability to pray "beyond the limits of our own finite minds." Once we have prayed all we know to pray, we simply yield our tongue to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to continue making intercession for us beyond the limits of our finite understanding. Even when we don't know what to pray "as we ought," we can trust completely in the Holy Spirit to make perfect, detailed, precise intercession for us as He gives us the utterance in other tongues.
This year my letters have dealt with the subject of permanent change. Let me ask you, can you think of anything that would bring more permanent change to a person's life than hundreds of answered prayers that were 100% of the time, always in line with God's perfect will for your life? Our Father has made it very hard for us to fail! He has given us the perfect Prayer Helper.
If you had unlimited opportunity to allow the apostle Paul to pray for you on a daily basis, how often would you let him do so? I would think … pretty often, yes? Think about this. You have unlimited access to a Prayer Partner who is infinitely more qualified than the apostle Paul to make intercession for you. The question is … How often are you letting the Holy Spirit do so? Pardon me, after writing this letter I think I had better close for now and get back into the prayer closet myself.
Thank you for your gift to GCM. Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!
Your friend and co-laborer,
Gary Carpenter Ministries|
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