Jesus intercedes for me in prayer no matter what I am doing, but does the Holy Spirit help me pray when I’m not actually praying? This might be the only situation where that old saying about God helping those who help themselves is actually true! To have the Spirit’s intervention, I need to actually be praying . . .
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 . . . If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:26–32)
Not often, but sometimes when I pray words come out that surprise me. I think, Where did that come from? Obviously the Holy Spirit was prompting them. He wants me to pray in the will of God. However, for the most part, I don’t know God’s will. This means that the Holy Spirit is an incredible gift from God to interpret and translate my prayers. Some say that no matter how garbled prayer might be when they leave our mouths, they get to God in excellent expression.
Praying in the name of Jesus is important too. I cannot stand before God on my own merit, nor ask anything of Him based on my own qualifications. Jesus intercedes. He is my advocate like a lawyer who speaks for a criminal in a court of law. Yet the formality of a law court is softened and modified because of another Helper . . .
Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:13–17)
All of this is the fulfillment of God’s promise: “And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” (Ezekiel 36:27)
Without the Spirit, I am not able to live for God. He lives in His people and helps us pray properly and live righteously. This is true of individuals, but also true of the entire body of Christ. The pronouns are plural in these lines from the New Testament, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” (1 Corinthians 3:16–17)
Today is the beginning of a new week of challenges. I have a term paper to write and am frankly nervous about the time needed. A family member is ill and the phone will be ringing. Two meetings are scheduled the first part of the week, and we have guests coming Thursday to stay until Sunday. Every minute will be filled, so I am glad for this reminder about the Holy Spirit. I need His help as I pray for many things, but also for a clear head to write that paper, wisdom in listening and comforting, wisdom in knowing what to say or when to be silent at those meetings, grace to be a gracious hostess, and energy for all my regular chores.
Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit . . . but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:4–6)
Lord God, thank You for Your precious promises and for the Holy Spirit. May the reality of life from You be the source of all I need during these full days ahead.