Inspired to Pray – Part 1
“We don’t know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” (Romans 8:26 NIV)
Although it’s crucial to understand the principles governing prayer, understanding alone won’t lead you to a breakthrough. In fact, prayerlessness often coexists with extensive Bible knowledge. Only the Holy Spirit can inspire us to pray effectually, and he uses various means to accomplish his purpose.
First of all, serious prayer is born out of a sense of need, out of the knowledge that we must ask God to intervene. The Spirit of God moves us toward prayer by using Scripture to show us two things: our human need and the Lord’s promise of provision. Breakthrough prayer isn’t born out of an “I should pray today” attitude but, instead, out of an “I must have God’s help” frame of mind. Many times I have heard sermons that convicted me to the point where I had to pray even though the message itself said nothing about asking and receiving from God. Self-satisfied believers cannot, by definition, experience the true spirit of prayer.
Like worship and hunger for God, the impulse to pray is often contagious. We catch it as we watch others presenting their needs at the throne of grace, pouring their souls out in prayer. Years ago I reached one of the lowest points in my spiritual life. I was so challenged by the ministry and so discouraged that I felt dangerously numb. The Lord seemed remote, too distant to help me, and I fell into a depressed, prayerless state. All of this happened while I was trying to pastor a church!
One Sunday during a time of prayer, I noticed a woman standing at the edge of the platform, sobbing quietly and then gradually raising her hands toward heaven. Her uplifted face, stained with tears, reflected the earnestness of her heart. In her, I saw my answer. The God she was imploring was the same one I needed to call on. I broke down in tears and began seeking the Lord again. God used that woman to encourage a pastor in spiritual trouble, though not one word ever passed between us. That night I found the strength to continue my journey.
This was not a case of emotional excess, but an example of how the act of prayer itself can inspire others. I never learned that woman’s name, but another one named Hannah, whose story is told in the Bible, has also provided motivation for my prayer life.
To be continued…
-Pastor Cymbala (excerpted from Breakthrough Prayer)
Read Romans 8:26-27.