Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Romans 8: 26

 

Are you ever at a loss for words? Some of us can readily answer with a yes, and some people never seem to run out of words. Yet, when it comes to talking with God, the quantity of our words doesn’t matter at all, and even the nature of what we say is no longer our responsibility alone. Prayer is more personal and intimate than that. Its worth or impact cannot be measured in word counts and in its measurable reading level. Prayer is a real-time expression of the content of the heart. There is no right time of day for it or an appropriate form for it to take. Prayer is about a person’s connection to the unseen at the same time as it is about that same interaction with the entire world where we live.

 

Paul is recognizing his own weakness here. He is also talking about my weakness, for it seems that I am too often stuck in a place where I don’t really know what to pray for or about. Still, at these times, I usually feel a need to talk with God. My heart may be heavy or it may be joyous; yet, I need God’s perspective, His wisdom and truth, in order to comprehend what it is all about and to act upon that understanding in a manner that enters into God’s will for my life. Prayer is a special gift that God has given to His people, and this form of communication with Him is different from every other way in which we talk in our lives because prayer involves a conversation with a real and an engaged being that exists as spirit rather than in the flesh.

 

When we pray, we enter into the world of the mystical; so, we are required to operate out of faith. Thus, for me prayer is one of the ways in which my trust in God is both tested and increased, and it is also a practice that leads me to know my Lord in ways that are deeper and more complete than I have ever know Him before. These times of personal conversation with God can be among the most vulnerable of times in my day; yet, the Lord treats my openness and lack of understanding with great care and loving assurance. Even when I do not come away from the experience with absolute clarity about the issues at hand, I move from a time of prayer with the knowledge that I was heard and that God is engaged with me in the challenges of living life. Prayer is a time of leaning fully on God and knowing with complete confidence that He is there to hold me up.

It is the Lord who reveals the profound and the hidden things;

He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.

Daniel 2: 22

 

There are many things in this life which are too deep to be readily grasped. Other things have the keys to understanding them well hidden. Some of these are the products of the hands of people; while, many of them are matters of human behavior and dwell in the province of the human heart and soul. Unfortunately, it seems to me that I get in the most trouble and have the greatest personal challenges when I am operating in this murky realm of grasping what others think, believe, and feel.

 

My greatest problem in this area is that I think that I can solve the mysteries of other people’s deepest selves myself. So, I make assumptions and reach conclusions about what is motivating another and about how to respond to that person, Then, I formulate a plan and act upon it based on my own understanding and its flawed wisdom. All of this has a success rate that is far from spectacular. There is one and only one source of true understanding regarding all things and situations that are deep, complex, and vital. The Lord is the Creator of the human heart and mind, and He is the keeper of our souls. If we want to know how to respond to another, whether good or bad, or we need to know how to communicate with someone, the starting place for it all is in prayerful conversation with God.

 

My Lord knows the dark corners and the hidden recesses of my own heart, and He understands how all that is concealed there has a powerful influence on the way that I deal with others. God is also intimately familiar with this same terrain in the hearts and the minds of everyone. He wants people to connect with each other in love, peace, and with a spirit of reconciliation. So, the Lord will provide each of us who seek after His wisdom and understanding with a clear perspective on how to interact with the people in our lives, and as His truth fills our minds, the Spirit of God makes us into beacons of righteous light.

 

Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.

Hebrews 10: 24

 

Sometimes God speaks to us in simple terms, and at other times, He lays His thinking out in complex expressions. Here is a really simple statement that says a lot, for it speaks about some of the most important aspects of living as a Christian. When God asks me to consider something, I think that He is saying to slow down, take time, and allow Him to talk it over with me. The Lord wants me to discuss the idea. Often it seems that He really wants to dialogue about the people that are on my mind. The Father wants to give me an opportunity to truly understand His children while He is helping me to know that He absolutely gets who I am and where I am in life. This is the heart of prayer, conversation with God that leads me to grasp His viewpoint, to embrace His approach to living, and to become ever closer to His love for me.

 

A primary motivation for all that Jesus did was to love people; He gave everything so that we could begin to understand God’s total love for us. The most important thing that God calls upon His people to do is the same, for He wants us to love others and to love them with the same totality of our beings that Christ brings to His relationship with us. The Lord desires for me to be a person who brings love to the people that I encounter. In order to do this, I need to be confident and secure in my relationship with Christ. Then, I can open my heart to give to others, and that is one of the most important ways that people are also compelled to give to others the deep care and concern that is motivated by Christ’s love.

 

Living well, doing good, is an expression of love, for this is the motivation that makes the things that we do into offerings of worship to God. Love is what prevents us from doing good so that we can look holy and righteous in order to gain respect and praise from people. This gets back to the idea of being confident and secure in how God views me; then, I don’t need the praise of people, and I can serve them as a form of truly fulfilling God’s wish to love and to care for them. Deep, intimate, and personal conversation with God leads to an openness of the heart, and an open heart is receptive to loving others as God does. That love is the source for every good thing that we will do. When we follow this path, others will be motivated to do the same, for the ultimate expression of God’s love in my life is to lead someone else to the One who first loved me.