These verses from Romans are the foundation of this article.
26 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. 27 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. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
What is Prayer?
As we look at prayer in recovery (and in all aspects of life) I think having a good definition of prayer is important. I like this definition of prayer from Barry Woods: “Prayer is a conversation between an ordinary human being and an extraordinary God, often about ordinary things.”
In simple terms, prayer is a significant part of relating with God. It’s a two-way conversation. I often forget that, and I suspect I’m not alone. We pray but then often walk away and forget to listen for Abba Fathers reply.
Prayer also includes so much more than words; it’s truly a lifestyle. Real prayer also involves all of life Phil. 4:6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Emphasis mine)
Why Pray At All?
I think we’ve all come to a point in our lives and certainly recovery journey when we ask our self: why keep praying because it doesn’t seem to be helping?
Prayer is a direct conversation with our heavenly Father who hears every word. Prayer can best be understood by what it does.
In his book; Lord, Teach us to Pray, Dr. Jimmy Knott gives us 9 reasons to pray. I’m going to share 3 of them. I would encourage you to purchase Pastor Jimmy’s book. It’s available on Amazon here: Teach Us to Pray
Here are three of the reasons why we pray (with a few notes).
1) To Know and Worship God
Prayer always begins with God, not us. The essence of prayer is truly worship. Prayer is directed to the one who answers and who answers in what He knows is best for us. It also shifts focus from self to others, namely God in prayer. Prayer is a communing with God.
2) To Obey God
God commands His children to pray. The prophet Jeremiah recorded these words; God said, “Call to me and I will answer you.” (Jer. 33:) The issue is not why we should pray, but that our Heavenly Father wants us, commands us to pray.
3) To Release the Power of God
There is a unique paradigm in prayer that exists no place else. Prayers can do anything that God can do and, God can do anything. When we pray in the will of God, and God’s will for you is to be free. To live in the freedom Christ rose from the grave to give you.
Prayers accesses the almighty power of God through our perfect Mediator Jesus Christ.
Prayer is personal
I believe the single most powerful and personal element in our relationship with God the Father is prayer. How you and I choose to steward the gift of prayer and the access to the Father’s throne, gives us insight into how we answer the question Jesus posed to the invalid at the Bethesda pool. “Do you want to be well?”
What can be and is a challenge for me (I doubt I’m alone here either) is patience in waiting for God to answer. After all Abraham waited 25 years for a promised son.
As you learn to pray, especially on those days when we just don’t feel like it, we build spiritual muscles and defenses we desperately need. Pray in humbleness of heart and of pure motive and watch God move.
Take time to read, digest and dare I say memorize the foundational verse for this series on prayer. It’s powerful and reminds us that we can come to God in any condition and He will hear us, and Holy Spirit will intercede on our behalf “in our weakness”.