"I don't know what to pray." Great! Let the Holy Spirit pray for you... (Exercise to try)
For this blog, I challenge you to practice not knowing how to pray! (Yaaayyy, an easy exercise!) I suggest Spirit filled believers try this several times over the next week, perhaps making it a prayer habit, doing it every now and again, especially when under pressure.
Romans 8:26-27 says the Holy Spirit is our help in weakness. It says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
Here is the Message translation of this same section in the book of Romans 8- 26-28 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
When I pray with people or hear what burdens them, it is often about situations that hurt or grieved them. And it’s not about what the stranger said or did, it’s about the family member, the friend, the co-worker, or the spouse who lashed out, walked away, betrayed, aggravated, accused, heaped shame, argued, humiliated, rejected them, etc. It is these situations that can throw us some serious curve balls inside leaving us in emotional states where we are confused and in shut-down mode emotionally, not knowing how to pray. It’s okay! God knows all about this weakened state and has promised the help of the Holy Spirit!
Many of us need HIS help. It’s a shared need within the Body of Christ. In my small group just this week, by the end, when it came to praying together, I realized that everyone had expressed a hurt that clearly grieved them. It was either a recent hurt or a hurt experienced repeatedly during childhood, but a memory was fresh and came out in our time together. All 7 of us indicated in some way that a loved one’s words or actions penetrated our heart producing sorrow, anger, confusion, dismay, hurt, etc.
Like our Savior, we will carry grief and sorrows. Through them we identify with our Savior. But in them, we are not to bear them alone. We cast our burdens on God because He cares. Christ carried them; and still carries them for us, Isaiah 53:4.
John 14: 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
This is a miracle people!!! Christ’s Spirit within you! Think about it!
Jesus is clear, “I will not leave you comfortless (KJV).” The NIV translates it as not being abandoned by the Father, i.e. “I will not leave you as orphans”.
How often do you say to yourself in prayer, “The Holy One is in me.” How often do you focus on Christ indwelling in you for your prayer time? How often do you take the focus off yourself, and say “Holy Spirit, please pray for me.”
This is a relieving prayer, a simple prayer of release that God offers to us as we grieve and mourn the unexpected attacks and confusion that comes from loved ones and friends, and as we face our own sinful shortcomings. We are given a gift to simply sigh and moan. It is a very simple prayer that brings great comfort.
In some of the meditation sessions, to start us out, I instruct participants to release deep breaths, to openly sigh and moan if they desire. I’ve noticed it’s not done without multiple encouragements from me. Our culture is not used to expressing emotion “outloud”. We should do it. Maybe you’ve noticed scripture from the Old Testament that reveals the Israelites tearing their clothes, weeping out loud to openly express emotion? Maybe you’ve noticed in James 4:9 we are to release emotion? Not releasing is neither good for our spiritual state or our physical one.
In the 1800’s an Army surgeon, William Beaumont was able to see that negative emotion affected the internal workings of the digestive system. He saw this through observing a man who had an open wound called a fistula. Through the fistula he was able to see what happened inside this man’s body when he expressed anger, frustration, fear, etc. The stomach did not release gastric juices the way it was supposed to and upset the digestion process. Whether you realize it or not, your body is containing your stress. Part of truly calming your insides is not a one hour workout or run or chanting a mantra, it comes from the Holy One who resides inside you, assigned to transform by divine power not physical exertion. We are to tune into Him. He is not a temporal solution that calms us like eating ice cream or running 5 miles. He is a forever help, coming alongside us, advocating on our behalf in accordance to the perfect will of the Father.
So in childlike faith, try something new. Walk out the promise by faith. If God says the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groans and sighs, we need not figure it out. Instead, release yourself into His care and trust.
Follow this format in your own way… Enter into prayer with deep breathing, inviting the Holy Spirit to pray for you. Ask Him to take over. Tell Him you want help in prayer right now and ask Him to pray for you. By faith trust it is happening as you begin to sigh deeply and moan if it comes. Just keep breathing deeply, releasing sighs and/or wordless groans. As Romans 8:26-27 says, the Holy Spirit will be praying for you according to the will of the Father, advocating on your behalf. Set a timer for 5 minutes and just enter in with the Holy Spirit this way.
See if at the end, emotion may not bubble up and let go, release it and express it in prayer. See if at the end of the sighing, that His peace that surpasses understanding has not brought life into your body and soul. See if at the end He has helped you hone in on what is really eating at you and why. If something is revealed, now you have words! Take those words to God in prayer and tell him what is on your heart about that situation. In childlike faith believe and hand your prayer time over to His Spirit within you.
Romans 8: 9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
I’d love to hear feedback from those who try this exercise. Blessings!
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Prayer is Gift!
Hi my name is Gina; and I'm the founder of the ministry. My 25 year journey with God has been centered on immersing myself in the safe relationship God offers, learning about the power of surrender, and praying for His life in greater measure!