January 21, 2006

When You Can't Pray

Romans 8:18-27

We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us ... Romans 8:26


"Pray continually," says Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. And James 5:16 reminds us that the prayer of a righteous person "is powerful and effective." Most of us believe this, but what if you have reached a point in your life when you can't pray? Some of the Christians I've met have told me that at times they could not pray. Sometimes people simply have no energy to pray. Sometimes life deals people such a blow that they can't even talk, much less pray. Sometimes there's too much pain, or a person's depression is too deep. Sometimes praying seems impossible. Thank God that he is with us even when we cannot pray. In those dark moments we can trust that Someone else is praying for us. As Paul says, "We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." The Holy Spirit who knows what's going on in our lives takes over for us. Because Jesus became one of us, we can also be assured that we have a great High Priest who knows what our lives are like, and he sympathizes with us in our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). Even in our most desperate moments God has us covered. If you meet someone today who cannot pray, pray for that person and assure him or her of the Holy Spirit's presence and prayers.

Lord, thank you that the Holy Spirit prays for us, helping us in our weakness. Thank you that the Spirit knows our hearts and minds through the work of Jesus. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!