OK, maybe you knew you couldn’t pray effectively on your own— but I didn’t know that when I first became a Christian.
I’ll get to the “WHY” question later but first my testimony on my prayer journey.
I thought I prayed pretty good on my own— God was more like my personal butler. That sounds funny now— but I didn’t realize I couldn’t pray effectively on my own.
I’ll be honest— when Dick and I came to the Lord all we knew was, our sins were forgiven and if we died, we’d go to heaven to be with Jesus. We were saved for a number of years before we even heard about the Holy Spirit— let alone being Spirit led.
And any way— what did the Holy Spirit have to do with prayer anyway?
“A similar thing happens when we pray. We are weak and do not know how to pray, so the Spirit steps in and articulates prayers for us with groaning too profound for words.”
I couldn’t believe that verse was in the Bible! “We are weak and do not know how to pray.” Why hadn’t I seen it before? (Probably because I thought I was a giant in praying).
I must confess— It’s been years and the Holy Spirit is still teaching me about Spirit led prayer.
Earlier on my journey of learning to pray— I came to the place where I knew I needed help. I bought everything I could get my hands on about prayer— all the different authors and teachers only confused me.
Until— I read the scripture in Romans 8:26.
Jesus said in John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
Imagine having a master teacher to teach you about prayer. Well, the Holy Spirit IS your master teacher. In the scripture above it says he will teach us all things. When I read that verse years ago— I knew that I knew that Spirit led prayer is included in the “all things”.
When you read the words Paul wrote in Romans 8:26 below— it becomes clear it was through his own prayer journey he could write those words.
“the Spirit helps us ·with [or in] our weakness. We do not know ·how to pray as we should [or what we ought to pray for]. But the Spirit himself ·speaks to God for us [intercedes] with ·deep feelings [groanings] ·that words cannot explain [or that are inexpressible; or that are unspoken; or too deep for words].” EXB Tranlation
I, like Paul, came to the place— where I could agree with him. There were times and still times today, in my weakness I don’t know how to pray or even what to pray for. Oh for my precious teacher and helper— I’m totally dependent on him.
Think about it— of all the words Paul could have chosen. What did he choose? That’s right— he chose the word “weakness”.
It’s hard for some people to admit their weakness when it comes to praying but you will eventually get to that place.
Paul concluded the only one who can help us is the Spirit. Oh, that we would come to that place sooner.
Look again what Romans 8:26 says, even when we want to pray— we don’t know how. I can’t tell you the countless times I’ve been there.
When you read Paul’s prayers— you get a personal, up close glimpse into his prayer life. In the beginning he probably experienced frustrating times and failures in praying and began to realize he needed help— he needed assistance.
Paul’s prayer life grew as he came to realize he had a helper and your prayer life can grow and thrive too because you have the same helper Paul had.
I came to the place where I had hope because I had help.
Now to answer the question,
“Why Can’t I Pray Effectively On My Own?”
- because of my weakness and
- because I need a helper
I can’t think of a better place to start learning about Spirit led prayer.
Claim the fact you are weak in your prayer life and claim the fact you need a helper and experience answers to your prayers.
“Spirit-led prayer is extremely powerful. It clears the way for God to change you by teaching you to stop trying to change God. He is who He is and He always does what He thinks is best, regardless of what anyone wants.
The sooner we recognize this and seek to align with His agenda, the stronger our bond with Him will become. Go for the higher thing. Ask the Spirit to help you learn how to let Him direct your prayers.”