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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

When You Can't Pray

"The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." (Rom 8:26)

Feeling Overwhelmed
This week we received the sad news of the sudden and untimely death of a friend. He was a towering figure in the church which he had faithfully served for many years and, together with his family, a whole congregation is left feeling bereft.

We all experience phases in our walk with God when we cannot make sense of what is going on. Loved ones pass away, illness dominates our lives or we are beset by severe financial difficulties. Tragedy is an all too common part of human existence and it almost seems sometimes as though even God has lost his mind. At such times it can become impossible to pray.

In Our Weakness
Paul tells us that, in our weakness, when we do not know how to pray, the Holy Spirit prays for us. He also tells us that Jesus Himself prays for us (Rom 8:34). No wonder he also says, "when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor 12:10). God's power is made perfect in weakness because we have nowhere else to go. We have to cast ourselves on the Lord and trust ourselves to His compassion and His prayers for us.

My Intercessor, My Friend
Job said,

"my intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend" (Job 16:20-21).

We know the grief we feel when beloved friends are struggling with trials and tribulations. We long to be able to relieve them of their burden but cannot. We plead with God for His grace and mercy. Our dearest Friend, the Lord Jesus, feels our pain and comes to our heavenly Father and pleads with Him on our behalf with an intensity we cannot match in our most passionate prayers.

Prayer College Assignment
Whether you are experiencing personal pain or watching loved ones go through difficult times there is no fault in being unable to pray. But you can be assured that Jesus is praying and the Holy Spirit is interceding and the God of all comfort, whose name is Love, will pour out His compassion. When no other words will come, the name of Jesus on your lips is all the prayer that is needed.

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