Even as there are hindrances to prayer, there are insights that will help us pray to the Father as we should. What are these helps to prayer and how can we as believers in Jesus benefit from them?
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is referred to in Scripture as the believer’s Helper. Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you” (Jn. 14:16). The Holy Spirit, who lives within every believer, will help every believer in every aspect of the Christian life, including the area of prayer.
Paul said, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Rom. 8:26-27). When we do not know how to pray as we should, the Holy Spirit “helps” us.
Herschel Hobbs once explained to me that the word “helps” in these verses is the Greek word, sunantilambano. He said, “It means, ‘to come alongside someone to help them lift a load.’” When we do not know how to pray as we should, the Spirit stands on the other side of our prayer burden, reaches down with us, picks our burden up, and helps us lift it up to the Father. He then says, “Father, this is what Steve is trying to tell you.” The Spirit helps us by turning our prayer into one that God will answer!
Years ago when I was in college, a friend and I began to memorize Scripture. Soon afterward, I found myself praying those same verses back to God. When I did, there was power and authority in my prayers that I had never known before!
Jesus said in John 15:7, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” When Scripture abides in us, our prayers become more effective. God’s will is found in His Word. When we pray according to His Word, we pray according to the will of God. God then hears our prayers and answers them (cf. 1 Jn. 5:14-15). When I pray Scripture (rightly interpreted) with a submissive attitude toward His will, God listens and answers my prayers according to His will. Because this subject is so important, I will cover it in more detail in the next chapter.