Have you ever found yourself on your knees with an earnest cry – a cry for Christ to be glorified in your life? In your today? In your heart and mind and attitudes? In your beliefs and convictions? In your aspirations? In your choices, your words, and your priorities? In your pain, and heartbreak, and anxieties? In your fears?
This is the backdrop of prayer: the cry of a believer for their very being to glorify their Creator. It is the spontaneous, heartfelt plea of a saint to have Christ on the throne of their hearts. It is the recited, memorized passages that remind us to direct our eyes heavenward and pray to be equipped for His work. And it is the united cry of God’s children for His presence, for our Savior to reign in our midst. We pray for many other things, but central to any prayer is a plea for Christ to be made great on the stage of our life; and for the strength and ability to do that.
But we are weak, and our minds are so often confused by heartbreak and sickness. Our hearts are strangled by pride and selfishness. We get drawn into our circumstances, and we sometimes struggle to see the bigger picture. We get confused, and we get afraid. We are limited beings, and as much as we long to see into the things of God and understand His will in our circumstances, sometimes we can’t.
There is a very real frustration that comes with not knowing the will of God, and how best Christ would be glorified in your circumstance. There is a true frustration at wrestling with our own hearts and sinful desires and trying to discern them from God’s will. There is a real confusion that comes from complicated life circumstances and heartbreak and our finite minds that cannot comprehend the will of God in it all. Our souls stretch to follow God’s will for our lives, but sometimes we are at a loss as to what that may be. And sometimes, we just don’t know what to pray for.
But our God is a God of grace, and will never abandon us in our weakness – no way; He is intimately acquainted with it. He has abundantly provided for it. He has provided an Intercessor that knows how to best glorify Christ because He has the Spirit of Christ, and knows the will of the Father for He has the Spirit of the Father. And He has been sent to intercede for us.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who searches hearts knows what is in the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” – Romans 8:26-27 (ESV)
What this means, is that when we are in this state of weakness and confusion, and all we know is that we want Christ to be glorified in our lives, the Holy Spirit moves in us. He searches and stirs within us and inspires complex cries within our hearts. He speaks from the depths of our souls where He can both see and understand our deepest desires more intimately than we ever could, yet has complete comprehension of and delights in the Father’s will – and from that stance of understanding, He asks of the Father on our behalf.
The scripture says that “He who searches hearts knows what is in the mind of the Spirit” – The Father examines our heart, with tender understanding, and He hears in our confused groans the clear Christ exalting requests of the Spirit. He is not confused. What we experience as complex and confusing groaning in our souls makes complete sense to God, and is pleasing to Him. In our times of confusion, in the very moments when we feel most perplexed and frustrated, the Spirit is busy loving and praying for us – He is for us.
Be encouraged that God always hears the prayers of the Spirit, and not only does He hear, but He understands. He is not watching you with some sense of bewilderment, but He is searching you and working in you with a loving comprehension. He is discovering meaning in your prayers, that go beyond what you can express in the limited vocabulary and understanding you possess. God’s grace in your life is not confined to what you can express in words. He is bringing about the circumstances that best glorify Christ in your heart and in your life, and in that we can find peace that goes beyond understanding.
So we should always pray, even when we don’t understand, because quite aside to how God answers our prayers is the fact that the very act of prayer is pleasing to Him – filling golden bowls of incense in heaven (Revelations 5:8). The act of prayer also brings Him glory, and glorifies Christ in our hearts – whether we know what to pray for or not. The Father gets the glory because He hears and acts and answers our cries; Christ gets glory because it is through Him that the blessings of answered prayers come; and the Godhead gets the glory because a work is done in our hearts as we learn to obey and be devoted to prayer. As we learn to trust Him with our future – all the good, and all the bad. He gets the glory for our own transformation and growth.
So we persist in prayer because we have this hope: that we are fully understood, and that by the Spirit’s intercession we are praying for Christ’s exaltation within our lives and hearts. We glorify God in the very act of prayer, through our obedience and trust, and we can rest in our weakness because of the Lord’s mighty provision for us – an Intercessor.
– Tamsin Peace