“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 with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”
It is of vital importance that the Church of Christ recaptures an awareness of and commitment to the prayer meeting. So much of the power which we need for genuine outreach in this world hardened by sin is dependent on prayer. We need the presence of the LORD Jesus Christ among us. We need an ever deepening awareness of His glory. It is this which draws people to His holy presence. In Matthew’s Gospel we read these words from the lips of our saviour. “For where two or three come together in My name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20)
One of the key issues which we often find ourselves facing as we think about joining with others in prayer is our own lack of proficiency in prayer. We hear about the effective and fervent praying of others and then look at ourselves and in reality we judge ourselves as being deficient in our prayer life. Surely the reason for this is owing to our focus upon ourselves. We are not looking at the LORD and His limitless resources, but at our own all too frequent failures and limitations.
I found this account given by Charles Haddon Spurgeon in a sermon entitled The Fatherhood of God, based upon the Lord’s Prayer. “As one dear brother said the other day at the prayer meeting, — he could not get on in prayer, and he finished up on a sudden by saying, “LORD, I cannot pray tonight as I should wish; I cannot put the words together; LORD, take the meaning, take the meaning,” and sat down.” (Spurgeon’s Sermons, Vol. 5, Hendrickson publishers, Peabody, Mass. 2011, p. 109)
This illustration helps us to understand the dynamic which the Apostle Paul is describing in the Romans 8 passage quoted at the beginning of this devotional. We often don’t know how to pray. Our words and our understanding are often so very limited and unsatisfactory. We feel as if anything that we could add to the prayer meeting will be unhelpful. We have forgotten something however. This is that the prayer meeting, like everything else in the Christian life is not really about us. It is all about the Glory of the LORD Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit comes to Glorify Christ. He comes in and intercedes for us as one who knows just what the will of God is for us. He knows what is really in our hearts and He will pray for us accordingly. He knows what we are really seeking in life and will bring our desires into accord with the purpose and plan of God so that we might be conformed to the likeness of Christ. It is not about us. It is all about the LORD Jesus Christ. In the prayer meeting, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we are brought into the reality of a life lived for the Glory of Christ.
Ian Hamilton expressed this truth so well in a Pastoral Letter to the Cambridge Presbyterian Church in March of 2010, www.cambridgepres.org.uk/nl/nl1003.html. “I shall lay the foundation of the ensuing meditations in this one assertion, — namely, that one of the greatest privileges and advancements of believers, both in this world and unto eternity, consists in their BEHOLDING THE GLORY OF CHRIST (1.286).”
It is to this that the Holy Spirit leads us as we gather together with other believers to pray.