“I was reading in one of the apostle Paul’s letters earlier this morning,” Stan began, “the one he wrote to the church in Rome with a copy to me. I was reminded of a big breakthrough I discovered from that letter some time ago.”
“What was that?”
“In my early days as a Christian,” he replied, “I experienced a great deal of frustration about what I perceived to be an ineffective prayer life.”
“Ineffective in what way?” I asked.
“I just didn’t know how to pray,” he said. “I read all sorts of books about having an effective prayer life, and I listened to a countless number of messages on how to pray, but none of them helped me. I just didn’t feel good about my prayer life. And that was a real limitation for having a growing relationship with God.”
“But you had a change at some point,” I said. “What was it?”
“The change came from the very same verses I was focusing on earlier this morning, and what the solution those verses offer is really quite simple.”
“I like simple solutions!” I commented. “What did you find?”
“If I don’t know how to pray or how to have an effective prayer life,” he replied, “I’m supposed to admit it. Just come before God and say, ‘I don’t know how to pray. Please help me.’ I am to acknowledge what I don’t know, as well as what I do know about it.”
“And what’s that?” I asked. “What do you know?”
“That the Holy Spirit can and will intercede. He will take what I don’t know how to pray about and present it before the throne of God in accordance with the will of God. It’s kind of like He will take my nonexistent, or inadequate and ineffective prayers, polish them up, and present them to God exactly as they should be presented.”
“Wow!” I exclaimed. “That’s like having God’ Holy Spirit as my own personal prayer partner. Only better.”
“That’s right,” Stan replied. “Once I had the sense of understanding that I was to admit that I didn’t know how to pray as I should, the frustration went away when I gave my prayers to the One who knows all there is about praying.”
“It was like,” he continued, “all of a sudden I had the sense that my prayer life is similar to a team effort, me and the Holy Spirit, with the Holy Spirit doing the heavy lifting. I’m to pray as I’m led, but when I don’t know how to pray, I’m simply to admit it and give it to the Holy Spirit. He will pray for me in exact accordance with God’s will.”
“That,” I commented, “must have given you a real sense of freedom in your prayers.”
“You’ve got that right, my friend” Stan replied. “Once I got to that point, I had a tremendous sense of freedom, knowing beyond any doubt that my prayers were being lifted up in the most effective manner possible.”
Bible verses to consider:
And 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.
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. James 5:16.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you provide everything I need to have an effective prayer life. Thank you that you lead me in my prayers and that you provide the Holy Spirit to pray for me when I do not know how or what to pray. I admit there have been too many times when I did not come before you in prayer because I did not know how or what to pray. Please lead me and help me to follow you into a most effective prayer life. And please open me to see that when I don’t know how to pray I am to admit it and allow the Holy Spirit to do what He is in me to do. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you think you have an effective prayer life? Why or why not? Have there ever been times when you did not pray because you did not know what or how to pray? If yes, what was that all about? Do you believe that the Holy Spirit is in us to lead our prayers? Why or why not? What does it look like to you to have the Holy Spirit intercede with things you don’t know how to pray about? Is that comforting or confusing? In what way(s)?