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4 Ways the Spirit Can Help Us to Pray

God’s Holy Spirit can help us to pray.

4 ways the spirit can help us to pray.
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I really thought I could carry all the groceries into the house by myself.  

My wife and our daughter both offered to help, but I said no. Everything was in bags. And I’m a big strong manly man. I could handle it alone. You know what’s coming, right? Right. I tried to carry too much at one time—which would make fewer trips, don’t you know—and dropped one bag and spilled another, breaking a jar of barbecue sauce and injuring my pride.

I often do the same sort of thing in prayer. Maybe you do, too.

We have been offered help. The Bible says, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27, niv). Unfortunately, we too often try to pray “all by myself,” so to speak, instead of taking the help that is offered.

How can we accept the Spirit’s help when we pray? I can think of at least four ways:

1.  Ask the Spirit to escort you to the Father.

My two-year-old granddaughter wanted me to meet someone she had just met. But her vocabulary wouldn’t allow her to verbally explain what she wanted, so she simply took hold of my hand and led me to her new friend.

God’s Holy Spirit does something like that too. He tenderly and graciously ushers us into the presence of the Father when we might otherwise feel or stay distant: “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father’” (Romans 8:15, nlt). So the next time you bow your head or close your eyes to pray, try picturing the Spirit taking you by the hand and leading you into the presence of your “Abba, Father.”

2.  Ask the Spirit to tell you what to pray.

Most of the time we run into God’s throne room, breathless, spouting our urgent and important concerns according to the emotion of the moment. God welcomes us even then, just as Jesus blessed the children (see Matthew 19:1, Mark 10:13). But the Spirit can help us by telling us what to pray or for whom to pray.

So go ahead and rush into prayer whenever you can, but try also pausing sometimes to ask the Holy Spirit to tell you for what people, situations, or needs you should pray. You may be amazed at His answer.

3.  Ask the Spirit to give you the specific thoughts and words to pray.

Sometimes—especially when we are overcome with emotion or faced with a crisis—we may find it hard to know how to pray. In moments like those, however, we can tell the Holy Spirit, “I don’t know how to pray about this. But You know all things; please help me in my weakness. Help me to pray what is on Your mind and heart. Give me the thoughts and words to pray right now, in accordance with the will of God.”

4.  Ask the Spirit to pray for you.

You’ve asked your pastor to pray for you, right? And your mother or father? Maybe a few close friends? You may have posted prayer requests on social media or requested prayer through Guideposts OurPrayer. So why not also ask the Holy Spirit to pray for you? Again, the Bible says, “The Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26, niv). In other words, the Spirit of God prays for us feelingly and passionately in ways that utterly transcend human language. 

When the Bible says, “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18, niv), it doesn’t say we have to do it all by ourselves. Help is available, if we only ask.

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