Praying in the Spirit

Our Helper in Prayer
Dr. Charles Stanley
Romans 8:26-27

Christians need the Holy Spirit's help in prayer. At times in our faith life, we will find that we cannot:

• Find the right words,

• Discern God's will,

• Recognize what He is doing, or

• Grasp the complexity of a situation.

Periods of struggle in prayer are normal for believers. Few of us are as eloquent as the psalmist David—especially when we are confused, distressed, or weary. Today we'll look at two biblical examples of prayer in challenging situations.

First, notice that in today's Scripture, the apostle Paul admits to feeling weak in his prayer life. His well-known request was for God to remove a "thorn in the flesh" (2 Cor. 12:7). Paul pleaded desperately—and probably with great effort—for relief. With the Spirit's help, he came to understand the Lord's call to endure in spite of pain.

And second, Jesus Christ agonized over the divine call to sacrifice His life at Calvary. Although He was committed to doing God's will, He dreaded the immeasurable spiritual suffering that lay ahead. As He lay on the ground, the Savior uttered this urgent sentence: "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will" (Matt. 26:39).

God knew we'd need help in prayer. With our limited human perspective, we cannot know all aspects of the situations facing us. But the Holy Spirit understands our needs and burdens—as well as the "big picture." He carries our requests to God even when we can't adequately express them

Praying in the Spirit

Dr. Charles Stanley

John 14:16-21

I am convinced that if Christians truly understood what takes place during prayer, they'd call upon the Lord more often and with greater results. The believer's prayer isn't simply spoken into empty space; the Holy Spirit is there to guide us in offering God-centered requests, fill in the words we cannot say, and carry our needs before the Lord.

The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity, so He knows the mind of God intimately (1 Cor. 2:11). Since He is as omniscient and omnipotent as the Father, He fully grasps the circumstance we are praying over—even the parts that remain unseen or utterly confusing to us. Also, the Spirit dwells within every believer and knows each one's mind and heart. With this full knowledge, the Holy Spirit can carry out His responsibility to make our petitions match God's desires. Toward that end, He speaks in our spirit and opens our mind to Scripture.

The fact that God gives His Spirit to all believers reveals the value He places on communication between Him and His children. Our Father provides the best possible Helper to ensure that we can be prayer warriors—wise, strong in faith, and fully yielded to Him. But we are none of those things unless we are habitually talking with the Lord.

Christians need never feel guilty for being uncertain about how to pray. The indwelling Holy Spirit knows our needs and desires—as well as the mind of the Father and the details of every situation. He speaks to God on our behalf while teaching us to pray in accordance with His will.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit


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