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When You Don’t Know What to Pray

8 Jul

Enjoy this humorous prayer wisdom from a child’s perspective.ChildInPrayer_LOLwithGod_Graphic-Morguefile

Joe went into his daughter’s bedroom and heard her repeating the alphabet, over and over again.

“Honey,” he said, “why are you saying your ABC’s so many times?

His daughter Cheri replied, “I’m saying my prayers.”

Joe couldn’t help but laugh. “Prayers? All I hear is the alphabet.”

Cheri patiently explained, “Well, I don’t know all the words, so I give God the letters.  HE knows what I’m trying to say.” *

Cute … but full of truth, right?

Like that little girl, I’ve also given God “all the letters” and even my confused thoughts many times when I didn’t know what or how to pray in a particular circumstance. I remember a time when the burden was too big for words.

And you know what? My heavenly Father doesn’t frown on that. He knows what I am. (I’m made of DUST! Psalm 103:14.) He knows how weak I am. But my Father continues to welcome me in prayer as He expresses nothing but goodness, compassion, forgiveness, healing, mercy and love toward me (Psalm 103:1-12).

Who would not come to such a loving Father?

The truth is, all of the Trinity comes to my aid when it comes to prayer.

Yes, “The LORD is like a father to his children …” and He knows how much we need his help when we are praying in His presence. 

But what about the Spirit of God?

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27, ESV).

The Spirit of God takes my weak and inadequate prayers and interprets them to the Father. He prays for me according to the Father’s holy purposes.

This is a special gift of grace.

The Spirit makes sense of my words, straightens and cleans them all up—and corrects them if need be—and then He takes them into the Father’s presence.

This doesn’t mean I can’t come boldly on my own to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16); God invites me to share my heart with courage and humility. He has “grace to help” in my time of need.

But what a blessing to have the promise that if my prayers make no sense, if I am so stricken emotionally that I can’t utter a single intelligible sentence, I don’t have to worry that God won’t hear my cry. The Spirit is my helper (Romans 8:26). He convicts me of sin, leads me to repentance and prays for me in ways I will never understand. And my Father listens and accepts His prayers on my behalf.

And it’s not just the Spirit who pleads my case. The Savior is praying for me too. 

The Bible says He is “always living to make intercession for us” (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34).  Jesus is my Advocate—my Defender and Mediator (1 John 2:1; 1 Timothy 2:5), allowing me to stand forgiven before the Father.

Not only that, He has given us a helpful pattern for our prayers. Remember when Jesus taught the disciples who asked, “Teach us to pray”? (Luke 11:1-13)

So I don’t need to let the enemy, the Accuser (Revelation 12:10), make me fear for one moment when I don’t know what to pray. I can always cry out to God in repentance and faith.

The Lord Almighty, my Father God, leans in to hear my words, and I have the promise of the Holy Spirit to interpret for me and the Savior’s intercession to come to my aid.

Do you fret that you cannot pray well? What does it mean to you that the whole Trinity is working on your behalf when you pray the simplest of prayers?

 – Dawn

–  Adapted from “Not Knowing All the Words,” The Cybersalt Digest, Issue #3692, 7-14-11

– Graphic, adapted, courtesy of Morguefile

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