“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” —Romans 8:26.
Trent Palmer reminds us in a recent post about this Daily Lectionary reading from Romans1—how this Romans passage has changed his prayer life. He is trying to wait for the Holy Spirit to lead him in prayer, knowing that God is doing for all of us far more than we can pray for or imagine ourselves.2 I need to hear this from The Daily Lectionary, Romans, The Book of Common Prayer, and Trent each week.
My prayers, especially for others, are a way to move out of the orbit I live in and know there is something going on greater than my mind, my feelings, my world. The space I live in is only a small piece of God’s world, perhaps like a grain of sand. But still, the God who loves us so much cares deeply about us, each grain of sand, each hair of our head, and loves us beyond what we can imagine. It is comforting to know that no matter what we pray for, the Spirit is there to guide our prayers. Sometimes I try to remember this by leaving a period of silence in prayer, followed by a few sighs of my own, hoping they will catch up with the sighs of the Holy Spirit!
I have friends who simply say to God, “I turn this day over to you for your care.” I admire them. It takes me more than ten words to turn over my day as well as those I care for and those I pray for. That is why intercessory prayer has become so important in my life. I aim for the shorter versions, but for today I am praying in long division.
1Trent Palmer, “Morning Reflection” from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fayetteville, Arkansas, Monday, July 9, 2018.
2 “Prayer for Those We Love,” Book of Common Prayer, p. 831.