The First 15

Monday July 27, 2020

by First Methodist Mansfield

When You Don't Know What To Pray


Romans 8:26-27

26 In the same way, 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. 27 And he who searches our hearts know


Sometimes, I struggle to find the words that I think are just right for prayer. Sometimes, I think I might be asking God for something outside of God’s will. Sometimes, when praying is the very best thing to do, I allow myself to remain stuck in distractions. Do any of my prayer life struggles resonate with you?

The Apostle Paul, knew how hard it can be for us to pray. He had an important insight and shared it to encourage the early church in Rome and remind them and us of the permeating work of the Holy Spirit deep within our hearts. The Holy Spirit penetrates even our calloused souls so that we are never left to struggle alone.

The Holy Spirit is at work within us, even when we are checked out.

When we do not know how to pray, the Holy Spirit prays in us.

Can you imagine how incredibly grateful the early Christians in Rome felt when they read this teaching from the Apostle Paul? What a relief it is to know that the Holy Spirit is speaking with God on our behalf, bringing to God our deepest hurts and longings – the things we struggle to even understand, much less say.

  • What issues in our world or in your life make you groan or sigh or struggle to pray about?
  • What setting or practice might best help you listen for the Holy Spirit at prayer within you?

Read the passage once more and as you do, open your heart to God. Allow Jesus Christ to pour his love and healing into anything you are trying to keep hidden, or trying to run away from, or that is causing you worry or pain. Clear your mind, be still, and listen for the sounds of the Holy Spirit at work within you.

Prayer for Today

Holy God, we thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit in us and in our world. Holy Spirit, come and speak in me now. Pray in me. Help me listen. Help me rely on you as I strive to be a blessing to others and follow Jesus Christ more closely, to the glory of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The First 15

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