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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”—Romans 8:26-27 (NKJV)
I’ve prayed some pretty foolish prayers. When things haven’t gone my way, I’ve lashed out in my prayers and cursed the people who’ve let me down or hurt me. When I’ve felt defeated and depressed, I’ve asked the Lord to end my life. When I’ve let go of faith and picked up doubt, I’ve asked the Lord to prove Himself to me in wild ways.
My responses to natural, human occurrences have often been caused by my ability to only see through the lens of my blurred and narrow perspective. When I have a problem, it’s rare that I know the best solution immediately, and that is reflected by my prayers. The same goes for Jonah. He was so over his situation that He asked the Lord to take his life, saying it was better to die than live (Jonah 4:3).
How many of us have prayed for things that we know we shouldn’t be praying for, but we just don’t know how else to pray? Thankfully, the Lord doesn’t hold it against us. Instead, He constantly extends mercy through His Spirit—specifically, through His own prayers for us. He already knows the best solution. He promises us in Romans 8 that His Spirit joins us and intercedes for us in prayer.
Interceding is intervening, or mediating, on behalf of another to alter a result. Does He do this in a forceful fashion? Is He changing our course of events to make us miserable? No, never. Instead, He does it as a friend, helping us to see the situation clearly, guiding us into perfect prayers that help us rather than hurt us (Jeremiah 29:11).
So, how do we live knowing this? We come to Him with the good and the bad, expecting Him to shape our prayers. While we may not see or hear His interceding, we can be assured that it is happening, and we will begin to see the evidence as our prayers are either answered or unanswered. Whether the outcome is how we planned or not, we can be sure that He is working in our midst, making all things new (Revelation 21:5).
DIG: Read Jeremiah 29:11 and Revelation 21:5.
Discover: How do you pray? With preconceived notions and requests alone or with the openness and vulnerability to have your prayers changed?
Display: Spend time with the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to show you how He has shaped your prayers over the years. Reflect on times that your prayers have been both answered and unanswered. Based on the promise He’s given to us that He is interceding for us and is working things together for our good, what conclusions can you draw? How has your life been changed for the better, and how can you offer Him more of your heart and mind?