Friday, September 24, 2010

The Holy Spirit’s Help in Prayer

“And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).  This is one of the most fascinating and provocative verses in all of the Bible.  A great deal could be said, and a great deal has been written, concerning it. Thomas Manton’s perspective on this passage in Romans inspired a few thoughts I would like to share.  Manton said that the fundamental teaching here is that the Holy Spirit directs and orders our prayers so that they will be in harmony with our ultimate purpose, which is to glorify and enjoy God.  I think that is a good framework from which to approach this passage.  It is our natural tendency to focus our prayers on all the things we desire God to do for us.  Our prayers tend to cleave to the things of this world.  The many things our bodies need everyday often crowd out concern for our souls.  If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that too often in prayer we try to employ God as a servant of our worldly desires.  In many situations we simply do not know what is best for us or for others.  What should we pray for?  What would best serve their highest interests?  Now the Holy Spirit intercedes in our prayers, directing them with respect to God’s will, His glory and our eternal good.    

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