We have been looking at prayer as a supernatural partnership as expressed in Romans 8:26-27. In Part I we looked at the problems of prayer described in these verses as lacking strength and lacking knowledge. In Part II we saw God’s solution to your problems – the Holy Spirit’s Help and the Holy Spirit’s Intercession. Today in Part III we will look at putting God’s solution into practice. How do you do that?
- Pray the Disciples’ Prayer – In Luke 11:1 the disciples say to Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Certainly the disciples had prayed before they made this request. But they recognized by watching and listening to the prayers of Jesus that there was more to prayer than what they were experiencing. Jesus had just finished praying so the disciples were saying in effect, “teach us to pray the way you pray.”
You need to be willing to admit that the weakness and ignorance described in this passage is true of you, that there is more to prayer than you are presently experiencing. This disciples’ prayer will be effective because God is more willing to teach you to pray than you are willing to learn.
- Draw on the Spirit’s Energizing Help – I am a runner and if I only ran when I felt like it, my runs would be few and inconsistent. If you only pray when you feel like it, focusing on yourself, your times of prayer will be few and inconsistent.
However, you do not have to be a slave to how you feel. The apostle James writes, You do not have because you do not ask (4:3). So what should you ask?
Jesus says in the context of prayer, If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him (Luke 11:13)? You need to pray for the help and intercession of the Holy Spirit. His help and intercession are spiritual realities that can be yours. What do they look like?
In Philippians 2:13. Paul encourages his readers with these words: For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. This verse means that God provides the desire and the power, the motivation and the energy, to do what He calls you to do – in this case, pray. This is the help of God the Holy Spirit who works in you to give you the desire, motivation, power and energy to pray. If you don’t feel like praying you need to turn to the Spirit of God, asking Him to provide these things for you. When you experience this work of God in you, it brings Him pleasure.
When prayer becomes burdensome, when you don’t know what to pray, remember that the Holy Spirit is interceding for you. Do not become discouraged. When your prayers seem useless, ask the Holy Spirit to convince your heart of the effectiveness of His intercession for you.
Prayer is meant to be a living partnership in the realm of the supernatural. A preacher from the last century said, “The more spiritual an exercise, the more difficult it is for flesh and blood to maintain it.” If that is true, then it should not be surprising that prayer can be so difficult since it takes you into the very presence of God. But the Holy Spirit’s ministry of supernatural partnership in prayer, His help and intercession at your asking, provides hope in the difficulty so that your prayer can bring delight to your heart and to the heart of God.