“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” (Romans 8:26)
Prayer is often expressed in words, our words. God values words. Words matter and words mean things. We know the power of language. The ability to speak reflects the image of God himself who created the universe with words.
Jesus is described as “The Word made flesh.”
But sometimes our communication with God goes deeper than language can capture. We know from human communication that non-verbal signals are a bigger portion of what we say than what we “say” in language. “Body language” and tone of voice can trump the literal meaning of words.
Prayer can also be non-verbal. The Bible mentions all kinds of “body language” postures for prayer: kneeling, raising hands, clapping, shouting, lying face down… There are dozens. So in those times you don’t know what to say to God, resort to something beyond words.
In those moments we are not alone; The Spirit of God comes to our aid to coach us and coax us into what we “mean” beyond what we can’t express.
Perhaps today all you can muster is a “groan” or a sigh in prayer. Maybe you just need to kneel and be still and quiet. Maybe you need to go out into the woods and shout! Well and good! God can leverage our wordless expressions and turn them into a genuine and complete appeal. We may not understand, but he certainly does.
Today, try praying without a word. Allow the Holy Spirit to pray through you, and watch how God answers.
The night Jesus was arrested he prayed to the Father for all his followers, including you and me. While we pray to God in Jesus’s name it’s amazingly encouraging to know he prays for us.
Today’s prayer – let Jesus pray for you! Find a Bible and John 17. Find a private place and read this remarkable chapter aloud. When you come to the line, “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message” (Verse 20) pause and thank Jesus. Thank him for thinking of you, personally, and for including you in his intercession to the Father.
Now a question: Do you think Jesus gets his prayers answered? Do you imagine that the Father hears and responds? Of course. Which means the Father heard – and still hears – this prayer for you, and responds for you. And what’s more, what Jesus prays is that the Father will love us and respond to our prayers just as completely as he loves and responds to Jesus’ prayers. And if the Father answers Jesus that means he also now answers you!
Stunning… Read this prayer again, just for the shock value!
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound, your entire body will be full of light.” ~Matthew 6:22
About a decade ago as I was helping our son Michael bundle up on a cool Fall Minnesota day before he hopped on the school bus, he told me about a gentleman that came to read to his 1st grade class the previous day. He talked about him like he was a believer in Jesus (it was a public school), so I asked him the question: “Do you think he is a Christian?” “Yes!” was his ready reply. “How do you know?” I queried. “It’s easy to tell,” he said. “I see it in his eyes.”
Michael could see the light of Jesus in this stranger’s eyes. What do strangers see in my eyes today? My neighbors, the clerk at Walmart, my spouse, my co-workers, or my friends?
I desire the light of Your gentle countenance to stream from my eyes when I encounter others today. Your eyes shone with love and compassion when you walked this earth. May people, young and old, see that You are alive in me. May the beauty and strength of your great love be alive and well within me, and may it permeate to each person that I meet, for each one is loved by you with an everalsting love.
“The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” ~2 Chronicles 16:9
“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.” Philippians 1:9
Paul prayed this for his beloved spiritual children. Let us join him in praying for the children in our lives as they embark on a new school year.
You are the Father of our children, the Good Shepherd of our lambs. We ask that above all else our children would grow in their capacity to give and receive love. Love is the law of the universe, for You ARE Love. And you distilled every good law ever established down to this: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.
As they grow in their capacity to love You, their King, and to love others as they love themselves (and may they have a healthy love for themselves), you will grant our children greater cognitive abilities, greater knowledge and understanding. We ask that our children wouldn’t go through the motions of learning, taking tests, and forgetting what they’ve learned. But that you would instill in them a hunger for knowledge, an unquenchable thirst to understand how the world works and glimpses of the gifts you have given them that they can offer to the world. Give them great joy in the journey of their education, and fill them with Your love, encouragement, and affirmation. Protect them from every harmful influence in the Mighty Name of Jesus!