“We know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searches the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).
Thank God we have a Priest in Jesus Our Christ and the Spirit of God who “intercedes through wordless groans” on our behalf because God lives is in every moment. Some Christians may realize that we are energized by the Holy Spirit for prayer; others may know what it is to pray in the Spirit; but we do not so often realize that the Holy Spirit Himself prays in us prayers which we cannot speak. When we are born again of God and the Spirit of God takes up residence in us, the Holy Spirit expresses for us the things we cannot express ourselves.
There are three types of prayers we can utter; Salutatory, Intercessory and Statutory. Some of us pray like spiritual frogs, we jump from salutatory to intercessory and from intercessory to statutory. I believe God’s idea is that the three should go together. They were always together in the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Regardless of circumstances He was never in a rush or restless, he exercised discipline, proving we cannot get into all prayer all at once. “Men ought always to pray and not to faint” (Luke 18:1).
Salutatory: A welcoming prayer expressing or conveying greetings sometime referred to as an invocation—inviting and welcoming the presence of God or the Holy Spirit. “I will be glad and rejoice in thee, I will sing praise to thy name, O thou Most High” (Psalm 9:2). We must focus our thoughts as they should on the great and magnificent truths of God.
In Psalm 139, King David acknowledges what I will paraphrase: “Thou art the God of the early morning, the God of the late nights, the God of the mountain peaks, and the God of the sea; but, my God, my soul has farther horizons than the early mornings, deeper darkness than the nights of earth, higher peaks than any mountain peaks, greater depths than any sea . King David invites God; Thou who art the God of all these, be my God. He acknowledges; I cannot reach to the heights or to the depths, there are motives I cannot trace, dreams I cannot get at—my God search me out, help me out!
Intercessory: A prayer of pleading to God, a god, or a saint on behalf of somebody or something, requires an intercessor—someone to send the prayer. “And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor” (Isaiah 59:16). If you want to see the fruits of prayer in your life, and the life of others, stop praying selfish-prayers and pray for someone other than yourself, “making mention of you in my prayers” (Ephesians 1:16).
Paul tells the Ephesians I mention you in my prayers because I want the God of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. Simply stated I pray that He will make Himself known to you as He has made Himself known to me. You cannot intercede if you do not believe in the reality of the Redemption, in intercession you bring the person or the circumstance before God, putting yourself in the other person’s place.
Statutory: A prayer related to, covered by and subject to the penalty laid down by that statute; mandatory prayer. “Now therefore restore the man his wife, for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shall live; and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shall surely die, thou and all that is thine” (Genesis 20:7). Early in the Old Testament Book of Genesis God makes it clear that we are not to covet thy neighbor’s goods, especially his wife. Should you be found guilty of this, as Abimelech King of Gerar discovered, prayer of the righteous leads others to redemption. Also, God makes it clear there are consequences and repercussions for our wanton acts, but by heeding His word and obeying His commands redemption and relief can be swift.
Furthermore, God has laid down the rules for us in the simplest form of the Ten Command-ments and further outlined the path of holiness in many other commandments and statutes. God holds His people to a higher standard, because He offers those who love Him a greater reward; “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” Merciful and kind, yet He does not mince words, there is something you must do: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2-Chronicles 7:14).
May be the reason the apostle Paul urged us “to pray fervently and without ceasing” is because prayer does and offers so much to the believer at different times in our Christian experience. For instance, in happy moments, prayer offers an opportunity to praise God. In difficult moments, prayer is the means in which we seek God’s help. In quiet moments, prayer offers an opportunity to worship God privately. In painful moments, prayer allows us to grow our trust in God. Finally, when we go astray, prayer brings us back into right standing with our God.
Prayer is the best indicator of our absolute and undeniable dependence on the grace and faithfulness of God the Father, the promises of Jesus Our Christ and the power of the Spirit of God. Through faith-filled prayers we are able to go even when we do not know where we are going, we go because we believe our prayers for strength and success have been heard and will be answered. We go because we believe in the power of prayer and what we have heard from the great provider to whom we send our prayers.
“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4)). Through prayer we have learned to trust in His ability to provide everything the believer needs to complete the journey ordained for His purposes. In every moment, we should offer our thanks to God in praise, worship and prayer. He has been better to us than we have to ourselves and Him. The grace and mercy of God is there, even when we do not know how or what to pray for as we ought. “To him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ to all generations, forever and ever.” Amen.
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ
- Is it How or What you Ask? (anointedplace.wordpress.com)
- Intercessory Prayer: A Powerful Force (rulingtheday.wordpress.com)