Praying in Harmony with God’s Will
Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because
He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Romans 8:27 NKJV
If God already hears our prayers, why do we need a mediator? For the simple reason that we do not know how to pray “as we ought” (v. 26)! Do you, for instance, know the true yearning of your soul? You might agree that there is a hidden need in your heart that you are not even conscious of right now, even if you think you know what it is. So, the Holy Spirit thoroughly investigates your mind and soul to gather the information He needs to intercede on your behalf in prayer. He searches for clues you would not think to seek and, therefore, would not be able to find on your own. And “…knows what the mind of the Spirit is…” (He who searches the heart knows). (v. 27).
The Greek term for “thought” in this passage refers to an individual’s way of thinking. Because He is searching and probing your mind, the Holy Spirit is aware of the thoughts that pass through it. He is looking for where God’s will is buried within your innermost thoughts. Whatever God has placed in your heart as a dream or desire, the Holy Spirit is looking for you to fulfill them. And when He does, He begins to pray about them in accordance with God’s desire since He knows they were mapped out in advance for you on the inside.
Even if you have some background knowledge on the subject, you cannot possibly know everything there is to know about those strategies at once. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, probes and explores your mind and soul and is equipped to intervene effectively on your behalf in light of whatever He discovers there. You can now comprehend the significance of the Holy Spirit’s participation in your supplications. He alone can perform this intercession; hence He must be in charge of it.
It appears that the Holy Spirit corrects our petitions if they are not directed under God’s will, as stated in the final sentence of Romans 8:27. Our inability to discern God’s sovereign will (in the sense of His decree) until after the fact is a significant limitation on our prayer life. Because His moral intent is clearly stated in the Bible, we can have confidence in ourselves. Praying for things not in line with the Bible is a sin. You do not have to consult God on whether to steal to make ends meet, whether or not to have sexual relations outside of marriage, or whether or not to marry an unbeliever. All the time, they are completely incorrect.
Because God investigates and knows every heart, we should pray from the heart. Spiritual-sounding prayers may impress others, but they do not please God. Pour out your heart to Him completely. But you could think, “What if my prayers are not aligned with God’s will?” However, there is a mystery here that defies our explanation. Let’s look at some biblical examples:
1) Both of Samson’s parents advised him against wedlock with a Philistine. Samson’s enemies were unaware that God planned to exploit his sinful motivations to punish the Philistines (Judges 14:1-4). Jeremiah was on the right track in asking God to protect His people from the Babylonians so long as they praised God’s name. However, it was God’s perfect will to punish them (Jer. 14:19-15:2). Or
2) Satan pleaded for permission to separate the wheat from the chaff by persuading Peter to deny Christ. In response to hearing such a demand, I would have prayed that Peter would be protected from sin. But Jesus, who had perfect knowledge of God’s will, did not pray that Peter would not transgress; instead, he prayed that his faith would not completely falter
and that, once restored, he would strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:31-32).
As far as we can tell, Paul is saying that we should make every effort to pray according to God’s will, but that if our petitions do not match God’s predetermined plan, the Holy Spirit will adjust our supplications to conform to God’s ultimate purpose. So even if it appears like God is not listening to us, rest assured that whatever you are praying for will be granted in God’s perfect timing.
Understand that you may not know how to pray as you should, but God has established prayer as a method for us to collaborate with Him in carrying out His sovereign will. He comforts us with the knowledge that the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, compassionately receives our petitions and guides them according to God’s desire before His throne.
Father, I repent of all the times I chose not to pray because I did not have the words, nor did I know for what to pray. Thank You for reminding me that the Holy Spirit helps me to pray in agreement with Your Will. I will persevere in prayer so that Your Will can be carried out in my life and the lives of others. In Jesus’ name, I pray.
Upcoming Connect 21 Events
- Saturday Morning Prayer (Jan 14th @ 9 am at The Way UMC – Latimer Hall)
- Sunday Morning Service (Jan 15th @ 10 am at River Ridge High School)