“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.” ‒ Romans 8:26 (NIV)
Don’t you sometimes want to say, “NO!” when someone asks you to pray? I know I have. My most common excuse is that I don’t know what to pray about, followed by “That’s not one of my spiritual gifts.” Sometimes what I really mean is, “I’m afraid if I open my mouth, I’m going to sound or look stupid.” Guess what? I might, you might. You might be praying for Alice, but your memory is as bad as mine and you call her Melinda. You may be praying for someone you think God has told you has a financial crisis and they’re actually struggling with an addiction. Ouch! Thanks, Danny, for that glowing recommendation to never pray for anyone ever. Hold on a second, this is about “What if you pray and make a mistake?”
Good news! The spirit of the Lord doesn’t require your genius or your clairvoyance. He only requires your willingness. He charges us all with praying for the needs of those around us. If you’re hit by a car and bleeding, you need someone, anyone to help you. You can’t wait for the doctor who graduated top of his med school class to drive by. You need willing hands to stop the bleeding—NOW. We all need willing hands of imperfect people, ready to ask imperfect questions, to a perfect God who can handle all of our failings and use them.
I once prayed that a man “be restored to his full wife.” I meant to say “restored fully to life.” Afterward, I was cowering in the back row when he and his wife came to me in tears saying that they had been close to separating. God didn’t give me that word of knowledge (He could and He does), but He already knew I was going to fumble my words and He used that weakness to change a life.
Pray often, out loud, quietly. Pray for things you know and things you don’t know. Pray when you don’t have the right words to say. He knows, He sees, He hears. He wants to hear your voice. He wants to use your words to heal.
- Danny Bell