Preaching four different sermons a week is easy. I’ve never had a problem with it. I simply open the Bible to the first verse of a book and begin preaching one verse at a time. God has already laid it all out for me line-by-line. It isn’t any more difficult than following a recipe for baking chocolate chip cookies but praying …. that’s hard.
Have you ever been stumped when it comes to prayer? We have needs and issues of our own to pray about, then we work our way through friends, family, and problems in the world. But what I’m asking is whether or not you ever get stumped as to how to pray about all these things?
I remember an incident many years ago. Each week we had a special time set aside during the church service for people who needed someone to pray with them. There was a certain man in the church who was hard of hearing, but always made himself available to pray with folks. One Sunday a woman went to him about a pain in her shoulder that had become almost unbearable. She asked the man to pray that God would take away the pain and make her shoulder better.
The man carefully listened, then bowed his head and prayed that God would give her a new job.
When the man was done praying, the dumbfounded woman walked back to her seat, disappointed and angry that the man had failed to pay attention to her request. She knew what she needed. Who was he to ignore her?
The next week she shared the story and two surprising results. Out of nowhere, she was offered a better paying job with better hours and benefits! She also realized that her shoulder had stopped hurting and was better!
I’m so thankful that even when I don’t know how to pray, the Holy Spirit knows exactly the real need. Now we just need to be quiet enough to listen to Him.
The Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will (Romans 8:26-27, New Living Translation).