Sunday, January 27, 2008

When God Needs to Pray For You

When God Prays for You by Dr. Ray Pritchard

Ray Pritchard - photo
Romans 8:26-27

With this message we come to the final installment in the series called Adventures in Prayer. When we started I said that I wanted to encourage you about the boundless possibilities of prayer. It’s easy to feel guilty about our lack of prayer, and who among us would say that we pray as much as we ought? We all could pray more, and indeed we ought to pray more, but that has not been my burden because I don’t think that’s the way the New Testament approaches the subject. As I read the Bible it seems that the writers stress over and over that prayer is a gift and a privilege, not a heavy burden hanging over our heads. That’s why I’ve tried to stress the promises of prayer and to encourage you to jump in and start praying even if you don’t know all there is to know. All you have to do is ask, seek, and knock. It all starts right there.

But sometimes prayer isn’t so easy. There are moments in life for all of us when we can hardly pray at all. I have mentioned before about the birth of our first son. He was overdue in coming and after a long, hard night of labor there were some problems. The doctor came in about 5:15 AM and said, “We’re going to take that baby now.” It wasn’t a question, it was a statement of fact. As they rolled my wife away, I saw the fear on her face and felt so helpless. When she disappeared behind the door of the operating room, I bowed my head and tried to pray but no words would come out. That had never happened before. Always I could find words to frame my thoughts. But suddenly I could not pray. It was a combination of fatigue from the long hours at the hospital, shock from the doctor’s announcement, the look on my wife’s face, and the unspoken fear that something might happen to the baby or to her. Sitting alone in that confused, exhausted, frightened state I bowed my head and tried to pray. No words came out. Nothing. No thoughts even came to my mind. I could not think of any Bible verses. All I could do was to stammer out “O God…O God…O God…Lord Jesus, have mercy.”

A few minutes later (though it seemed like an hour) a nurse said, “You can come in now.” There was my wife in pain but still conscious, and there on the table was a brand-new baby boy. I knew that God had answered my prayers even though I couldn’t put the words together.

Looking back on that experience I learned something profound. The more something means to you, the harder it is to pray for it. The reason we can pray so easily for others is that we’re not that deeply invested in them. It’s relatively easy to say a brief prayer for people in Thailand or Botswana or Latvia. After all, you don’t know them personally and you’ll probably never meet them and you don’t have any personal investment in them. It is much different when you try to pray for those who are closest to you. The more you care, the harder it is to pray. When it comes to those things in life that really matter—your husband, your wife, your children, your loved ones—those things are hard to pray for because they are close to your heart.

It is precisely at this point that our text becomes so crucial.Romans 8:26-27 assures us that when we can’t pray the Holy Spirit prays for us. When we can’t find the words, the Holy Spirit speaks to the Father with groans that can’t be put in words. And when we aren’t sure how to pray, the Holy Spirit prays for us according to the will of God. This is a wonderful promise of God because as we go through life, we face many situations where we simply don’t know how to pray. In those moments we can be sure that God the Holy Spirit is praying for us.===>Click headline to access complete article . . .

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