Praying in the Spirit – II
Psalms are heartfelt cries before God baring the soul and seeking His Divine intervention in our life, and the indwelling Holy Spirit induces similar groaning in prayer.

Praying in the Spirit – II

        It becomes difficult for us ‘the earthen vessels’ to understand the reasons behind God the Holy Spirit praying for and with us to God the Father and God the Son. And this is aimed at getting us out of those difficult situations in which we fall due to our own deliberate sinful actions. The absolute truthfulness of this promise of God about neither leaving nor forsaking us gets fulfilled through the active involvement of His Spirit in our daily lives. This does not remain limited to teaching the mysteries of God’s Word but actively help us in getting transformed.

        The Scripture message is that ‘He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God’ (Romans 8:27). In our fallen state we do not know what to pray for but the Holy Spirit knows the will of God and intercedes for us accordingly. For us God praying to God is strange for the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are One while being three. There are three questions in this – What does the Holy Spirit pray for us? How does the Holy Spirit pray for us? And why does the Holy Spirit pray for us?

        What does the Holy Spirit pray for us? What does He ask for? – First, He asks what we do not know how to ask; second, He asks for things that we do not know about because of our weakness. Our weakness is taken up by Him and third, He asks for things in accordance with God’s will. We know to pray and ask for innumerable things as per the Word of God but the Holy Spirit prays to fill in for our ignorance which is due to our weakness. This weakness could be due to our limited human nature (Romans 6:19); weakness due to our sickness though both are synonyms (Luke 5:15) and also weakness due to the adversities that we face (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). We wait for redemption of our bodies and groan and this is the weakness of our fallen nature or bodily suffering. In sickness we do not know the will of God whether He desires to extend the life span or cause death. One of our viewers’ wife is suffering from total paralysis and is bed ridden for a long time and in this what do we pray for, relief from her sickness or relief from suffering?

        Apostle Paul’s thorn in the flesh and his prayer three times for he did not know what pray for till the answer from God that ‘My grace is sufficient, My power is manifested in your weakness’. In like manner Apostle Paul could not understand what to ask for, ‘For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain’. Thus while life meant more work for God’s kingdom, death means to be with the Lord in eternal unity, what to ask. John Bunyan, writer of the epic book, ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ was put in jail for 12 years for not giving up preaching the Word and he had 4 children and 1 of them was blind. He had the option to agree to stop preaching and get freedom and in this what should have been Mrs. Bunyan’s prayer? Apostle Paul was in Damascus with Jews planning to kill him and watching the city gates and he agreed to be ‘lowered through the night in a large basket’ through a window in the city wall. He faced stoning and beating in other places then why did he agree to escape in this situation?

       ‘We want Christ to be magnified in our bodies whether by life or by death’ (Philippians 1:20) and Holy Spirit knows and asks God to do the right thing. The Holy Spirit does this praying for us because, firstly, we only know the revealed will of God as per the Scripture but not the decretal or secret will of God. Secondly, in my groaning and pain I am being watched and understood by the Holy Spirit while God the Father searches my heart, I am not alone in my suffering. Thirdly, God’s work in and for me is not limited to what I can understand or think for ‘He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think’ and He does it without our knowledge (Ephesians 3:20-21). Fourth, in my weakness, sickness, loss, hardship or danger God’s Spirit prays for me and when He is with me who can be against us? Fifth, God the Father does not reject the prayers of God the Holy Spirit but hears and answers them for both are in unity with each other.

       The Holy Spirit prays that the outcome of our present situation will be that which brings most glory to Christ even though we don’t know what that will be, whether it be our life or our death.

         How does the Holy Spirit pray for us? – ‘The Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words’ whereas we groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body’ (Romans 8:22-26). The Holy Spirit prompts and directs our groaning by leading us to that place where we lose our ability to give words to our specific longings. Holy Spirit as God has no problem to communicate with God the Father or the Son, thus His groaning cannot be due to being at a loss for words. He knows everything and He prompts and guides our groaning to ask as per the will of God and then takes that to God giving meaning to our groans. ‘He searches our hearts’ (Romans 8:27) therefore we groan and God the Father searches while the Holy Spirit intercedes with ‘wordless groanings’ while God knows the ‘mind of the Spirit’. My groaning of pain and anguish are initiated by the Holy Spirit. Linking this to verses 22-23 – ‘the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth’ – and ‘Not only the creation but we ourselves who are the first-fruits of the Spirit groan inwardly’ and in both these cases the groaning is ours.

        Apostle Paul’s sufferings in the body caused this groaning and with it joy also that the ‘thorn in the flesh’ may be affecting the body but the Holy Spirit is transforming the soul and spirit ‘though our outward man is perishing, yet the inner man is being renewed day by day’ (2 Corinthians 4:16). Thus this groaning is our groaning caused by the Holy Spirit. ‘For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15-16). The Spirit initiates these groaning in our hearts and then joins us in our prayers to seek God’s will and though we cry out ‘Abba, Father’ but it is called the witness of the Holy Spirit for He awakens in me the sense of being adopted into the Family of the Creator. The Holy Spirit reveals the mysteries of God’s Word instilling confidence within us. We do not know what to ask – death or life for the suffering while HE knows and moves in to awaken this groaning ‘too deep for words’ and the Father understands the unspoken.

        The great blessing in this is that I do not have answers to many questions but God understands my weaknesses and is ever ready to step in to guide, help and strengthen me. He is my ‘Great and Remarkable Help’.

        Why does the Holy Spirit pray for us? – After having written eleven chapters of the book of Romans and revealing such great details, Apostle Paul exclaimed, ‘Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! Who has known the mind of the LORD?’ (Romans 11:33-34). God the Holy Spirit initiates these groaning to send towards the Father and the Son in heaven. We do not understand but it all has a meaning for God, just like the sounds created by a child yet learning to speak, for He knows His secret will that He is going to do. John Calvin links this to the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit while another view thinks the prayers of the Holy Spirit are totally different from the prayers of believers.

           But why should God pray to God? – I know for a fact that I am foolish and God only is wise and I will surrender to Him and let Him do what is best for me. Lord Jesus desires to enter our hearts to feed us the Spiritual Manna. Further He has promised great rewards to those who ‘overcome’, a reward of even to sit with Him on His throne (Revelation 3:20-21). When He wants to bless us with such wonderful rewards, how can His Spirit be idle in us and remain a mute spectator while we in ignorance keep on seeking what is not for us and missing out on all that the LORD has stored up for us in heaven? Moses commanded the Israelites ‘to love the LORD your God and serve Him with all your heart’ (Deuteronomy 11:13).  What is ‘service of the heart? Prayer is about cultivating an emotional connect, a real relationship with God. Rambam, the Jewish sage, says that having ‘kavannah’ or deep intention, awareness and devotion is vital in prayer. The Holy Spirit leads us into kavannah, that state where we get positioned into Spirit induced prayers that change the course of one’s life.  

        Hanna the mother of Prophet Samuel was barren and therefore ‘in bitterness of soul and prayed to the LORD and wept in anguish.  Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved but her voice was not heard, therefore Eli thought that she was drunk’. On being questioned she told Eli, the High Priest, ‘I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have poured out my soul before the LORD’ (1 Samuel 1:10-15). Hanna prayed from her heart for prayers direct our hearts to God; her lips moved and we also must pronounce the words of prayer; but her voice was not heard for it is wrong to raise one’s voice in prayers. Silently spoken prayer brings tranquility in our lives for there is intimacy in whispering because then it becomes a private conversation with God. That is ‘kavannah’.

       Service of the heart means total dependence on God as it happens in asking under the urgings of the Holy Spirit, placing our needs before Him and surrendering our own efforts at His feet. The Holy Spirit induced prayers bring us closer to God emotionally and spiritually and provides nourishment for the soul for then it is not a chore but real, raw and heartfelt. Prayer then has the power to change, inspire and invigorate every aspect of our lives and changes even our bodies causing healing of the body and soul relieving us from diseases and weaknesses.

        Learning to pray is to learn to see the world from God’s point of view and it is for changing me rather than about changing God. The Holy Spirit leads us into this state of surrender through these groaning where praying becomes a joyful and invigorating experience and not a chore. The Holy Spirit touches the deep recesses of our heart to lead us to an intimate relationship with both God the Father and the Son. What greater blessing can be there for an individual!

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