Are you like me? I know my prayer life is quite poor. I was even with a large group gathered for prayer yesterday, thinking my prayers didn’t amount to much. Like the apostles that Jesus invited to pray with him in the Garden of Gethsemane, it seems I seldom join Him in the spiritual battle through prayer, even when He invites me to. (See NOTES.)
Like you, I may not know how God would have me pray in some situations as well, but I know the Holy Spirit helps me pray as the Bible promises in these words from Romans 8: 26 – 27 (my dad’s favorite Bible verses):
In the same way the Spirit also comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit himself pleads with God for us in groans that words cannot express. And God, who sees into our hearts, knows what the thought of the Spirit is; because the Spirit pleads with God on behalf of his people and in accordance with his will.
So, it’s really the Holy Spirit that makes my prayers what they should be.
As I was reading a homework assignment for a theology class this morning, the author reminded me of Jesus’ ministry of continued prayer for us, found in Hebrews 7:25 (GNT): “And so He is able, now and always, to save those who come to God through Him, because He lives forever to plead with God for them.”
He is forever praying on our behalf. The author went on to quote this explanation about Jesus’ prayers for us:
It is a consoling thought that Christ is praying for us, even when we are negligent in our prayer life; that He is presenting to the Father those spiritual needs which were not present to our minds and which we often neglect to include in our prayers; and that He prays for our protection against the dangers of which we are not even conscious, and against the enemies which threaten us, though we do not notice it. He is praying that our faith may not cease, and that we may come out victoriously in the end. (from Berkhof’s Systematic Theology, page 403)
So, yes, my prayers can certainly seem insignificant to me, but it’s Jesus’s prayers that are powerful to save and to make a difference in my little world and in His entire kingdom.
- The photo is of an old altar piece from St. Mary’s church in Berlin, showing Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane while his disciples slept (downloaded from Wikimedia Commons).
- The story of Jesus agonizing in prayer in the garden, before His arrest, is found in Luke 22: 39 – 46.