It was a morning like so many others as I lay in bed praying about the day ahead, bringing all of my requests and concerns before the throne of God.
I don’t know why at this particular moment that I was struck with this amazing thought about what it means to be a follower of Christ and have access to the Holy of Holies, but I was.
Many a Christian has memorized Romans 8:28 but even before that, verses 26 & 27 are powerful ones about what actually takes place when we pray.
“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. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
Then again in verse 34 “Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died -more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”
When a believer prays to God, the whole trinity is at work.
To place our faith in Christ, is to be covered in his righteousness, which makes us acceptable to God. In and of ourselves, we are not worthy because of our sinful state, yet Christ the perfect lamb of God is, and now as his children, our requests have God’s ear because Jesus is seated at his right hand interceding through the spirit on our behalf!
As we approach God with our requests, we are weak as humans in knowing how to pray, yet God remedied that by giving the gift of the Holy Spirit to indwell each believer.
He searches our hearts and on our behalf, communicates with groanings, our requests to God, lining them up with His perfect and good will.
What does this mean?
It means that the Holy Spirit filters my prayers and perfects them.
Because of this, I never need to fear approaching God or knowing exactly how to pray or what to say. I never need to worry that I am not communicating my heart or that He will misunderstand and not answer my requests.
He will hear me, but will refine my requests.
The Father God who will not give his son a snake if he asks for a fish, will make sure that if the request is for a snake, he will give a fish instead. Good fathers give good gifts. (Matthew 7:9-11)
It is a great comfort to me to know that God not only hears my prayers, but he examines my heart and filters them through the sieve of his perfectly good will.
My will is not always a good one. Too often, my will is selfish or immature, focusing on the externals of this world and not the eternals of the next. Too often I ask him for a snake only because I don’t know better, when he wants to give me a fish.
Praise God, that he intervenes.
I have known these verses for years but the profound impact that they have made on me lately, is a truth I hope I never take lightly.
The power of prayer that takes place in the heavenly places involves a work between the trinity and believers that is nothing short of miraculous and life changing.
Maybe this is why scripture tells us that men ought always to pray and not to faint. (Luke 18:1) Or that we should not be anxious about anything but in everything through prayer and petition let our requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6).
We are told to pray without ceasing and to lift up all kinds of requests before his throne. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Why would God continually call us to pray if He doesn’t absolutely delight in working out His purposes in and through our lives in ways we could never imagine?
Our vision here is so distorted by the world around us.
I have heard it said, “while we see three things, God sees 10,000.”
When I pray, I can only see the present circumstances around me and the people in my immediate circle of connection.
God, however, sees all the lives that will be affected beyond the ones I know, as well as circumstances and events that he is orchestrating on behalf of past, present and future prayers that are lining up with his perfect will for everyone involved.
Many of these prayers we will see come to fruition here and a million more will culminate in eternity when he shows us how he worked in the most difficult of circumstances toward something that in the end was far greater than what we ourselves would have asked for.
Romans 8:28 “For we know that ALL things work together for the good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”
What? Suffering? Sadness? Death?
Either we believe God is the great sadist in the sky, or yes, even those hard things can somehow be worked together for the good in the lives of those who love God.
This doesn’t mean we will not struggle greatly with hardship and sorrow. God himself suffered and sorrowed greatly. He hated death so much that he defeated it by sacrificing his own son.
To be immune to suffering is to miss the very heart of God.
Rest assured that He is not a God who cannot identify or empathize with our pain even when he allows it.
Remember, the same Jesus who knew he would raise Lazarus from the dead, wept when he knew he had died.
His working all things together for the good means he is not a God of despair but of hope…..no matter how bad it looks on our end.
So, we grieve but not as those who have no hope. (1Thessalonians 4:13)
I continue to learn. I have seen miracles and amazing, glorious answers to prayers above and beyond what was asked.
I have seen God say “no”, “yes” and “wait”.
I don’t have all the answers but He does and the fact that Jesus is praying in the spirit on my behalf according to God’s good and loving will is enough for me today, tomorrow and for all eternity.
He’s got this.