Welcome to the 3rd edition of the Pastor’s blog! This entry marks a transition point, as the pastoral team has decided to move on from the Sermon on the Mount and instead, utilize this blog to supplement our sermon series on the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Today, it is my privilege to share some thoughts on the upcoming message I will be preaching, “The Prayers of the Spirit.” In Romans 8:26 Paul writes “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.
What is the role of the Holy Spirit in prayer? First, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. Have you ever started praying, only to be interrupted by the wandering of your mind? We know the importance of prayer, but because we live in a fallen world and have human bodies that are tainted by sin, we often don’t pray as well, or as long, or as much as we would like. But in our weakness, the Spirit is our helper. It's important to note that the Holy Spirit’s assist does not take away our role in prayer. As one author so cleverly articulated, “Don’t worry if you pray poorly, worry if you don’t pray at all.” The Holy Spirit is our helper, not our replacement. But when we do pray, though we are weak, the Holy Spirit removes selfish motives and ungodly desires from our prayers, and He makes sure that what we truly need is clearly communicated to God.
Secondly, The Holy Spirit also intercedes for us when we do not know what to pray. A couple of years ago a close friend of mine passed away, and I remember trying to muster up prayers for the family, but the shock was so real that I just didn’t know how to communicate or what to express in prayer. I just simply cried out to God. Maybe you have experienced a moment like this. In these moments, we can trust that though we might not know how to express our emotions, the Holy Spirit knows our requests and He can express to God exactly what we are feeling. The next verse sheds some light on how we know this to be true: “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.” The Holy Spirit knows our hearts, and though our prayers may not be perfect, or we might not be able to find the right words, if our desires are in line with the will of God, the Spirit presents our requests to God and intercedes on our behalf. How encouraging is that!
What is the result of the Holy Spirit’s intercession? Check out vs. 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.” This is such a popular verse and unfortunately because of that, it often gets taken out of its context. But here is what we see happening: The Spirit intercedes and prays to the Father on our behalf, and God hears the Spirit’s prayer and then He works out his plan in our lives. God intervenes and directs us according to his will. The Holy Spirit’s prayers are always effective, God will answer and grant what the Spirit prays for. We can be confident that He is working out his will in our lives “for good” as we trust Him and walk in obedience. I hope you are encouraged by this, and I look forward to sharing in more detail with you on May 1!