Sometimes it is hard to pray.
Have you ever felt like that? Like you just didn’t know what to say or where to start. Maybe its because you were overwhelmed, you were grieving, feeling betrayed, or overcome with anger. OR maybe you feel like your prayers are inadequate because they don’t sound as beautiful or intelligent as someone else’s.
When I was going through my stormy season, I held tightly to Romans 8:18-30. Verse 28 is one of those “popular” scriptures, but its worth noting what it says: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” I absolutely love this scripture, have memorized this scripture, and meditate on it when I am facing any kind of trial…but, I want us to focus on verses 26 & 27 today.
The message in this verse is sorta overwhelming to me. So, I hope and pray that my “commentary” here does it justice. There are a few points that I feel I must share with you:
- Tears can be a prayer.
- The Holy Spirit is the BEST intercessor.
- God wants to hear from YOU
TEARS CAN BE A PRAYER
There have been times when I was sooo overwhelmed with physical pain, anger, grief, stress, fear, loneliness, and failure, that I just couldn’t pray a beautiful prayer. In fact, in those moments, my prayers often sound like “God…(insert minutes of weeping). Lord, I need your help, because I just can’t deal with this by myself…(insert a little more weeping).” This is definitely not a perfectly structured prayer. It is certainly not the Lord’s prayer. However, no matter what you think that prayer is missing, I’m here to tell you that it is complete. Not because it checks off every box, but because it is a genuine conversation between a child of God and Abba. Have you ever just cried in your parents arms? They probably didn’t demand that you immediately share some detailed description of what happened and exactly how you are feeling. If they handled it well, they sat with you in that moment. They let you cry. God does this infinitely better. He already knows EXACTLY why we are crying, how we are feeling, and what good thing is waiting on the other side of that moment. He is pleased that we have brought our burden to his feet. It’s one of those “actions speak louder than words” moments; and He hears it loud and clear!
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE BEST INTERCESSOR.
This is the overwhelming part for me. If you’ve ever been broken down and too weak to pray for yourself, and someone genuinely prayed over you; I mean the type of intercession, where they start praying for things that you hadn’t even said out loud. You think to yourself “wow, thank God for this person…like how did they know”. That is just an example of how the Holy Spirit intervenes in prayer, but I don’t believe that it does it justice! Like…imagine the conversation that God has with God on your behalf. That extends beyond praying things that you’ve thought but haven’t said out loud. That conversation includes things that you hadn’t even thought or imagined. Things he is shielding you from. Things he has in store for you.
In John 14:16, Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as our Advocate. Depending on the translation you read it may also say comforter, counselor or helper. The point is, we have been gifted with the Holy Spirit who dwells in us and advocates for us according to God’s perfect will. The Holy Spirit knows God’s will and is always in alignment with God’s will. When we are at a loss for words in our prayer time or there is nobody near that we can trust to pray for us…WHO BETTER TO PRAY FOR US THAN THE HOLY SPIRIT!? We can always trust that those prayers reach God and that those prayers work for our good, If there is anybody that I want talking to God about me, it’s God (through Jesus and the Holy Spirit).
GOD WANTS TO HEAR FROM YOU
Finally, I want to remind you that your Heavenly Father just wants to hear from you. Don’t get me wrong, Jesus taught us how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13, and there are many beautifully written books and devotionals about prayer (my personal favorite is FERVENT by Priscilla Shirer). We hear elaborate prayers from spiritual leaders in our churches, or the intercessors in our lives. BUT, God doesn’t measure the authenticity of our prayers the same way that we often do.
When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!
Matthew 6:5-8 (NLT)
The point is, God doesn’t want to hear from who you are pretending to be. God wants to hear from YOU! He already knows how you talk, how you feel, and what you need. There is no need for you to pretend in your prayer time. He wants genuine conversation with you.
What’s the point in pretending with someone who can see right through you?