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Summary: Sometimes I do not pray in words— I take my heart in my two hands And hold it up before the Lord— I am so glad He understands (Nicholson)

How the Holy Spirit Helps us Pray (Eph. 6:10-18)

Illustration: We do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us. —Romans 8:26

My son Brian had been struggling for several hours to repair the plumbing in his bathroom. No matter what he tried, nothing seemed to work. His 4-year-old son J.D. had been watching his dad, wanting to help but not knowing what to do. Brian was about to make one more try, but before doing so he looked up at J.D. and said, "Please pray."

The boy didn’t know what to say, so he began with his usual nighttime requests: "Dear God, bless Dad, bless Mom, bless Sarah, bless Julia. Amen." Brian tried once more to fix the problem—and this time he succeeded.

Often we feel like J.D., not knowing what words to say. But we still come to God with our need because our confidence lies not in ourselves nor in our intercession, but in the Holy Spirit. He hears and knows our hearts, but He also hears and knows the heart of God the Father. George MacDonald wrote, "Father, . . . look deep, yet deeper, in my heart, and there, beyond what I know, read Thou the prayer."

God’s Spirit takes our inadequate prayers, breathes into them the Father’s will, and turns them into meaningful requests (Romans 8:26). Although we may not get what we thought we wanted, we will receive God’s best, for our Prayer Partner knows our deepest needs. —DHR

Sometimes I do not pray in words—

I take my heart in my two hands

And hold it up before the Lord—

I am so glad He understands. —Nicholson

God hears more than words—He listens to the heart. (Our Daily Bread)

1. The Holy Spirit wages war with Christians’ sinful human nature. Paul writes, "For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other." (Gal. 5:17) Ask the Lord to help you fight the good fight of faith in overcoming your sinful desires that oppose God’s purposes, plans and priorities.

2. The Holy Spirit helps us equip ourselves with all of the spiritual weapons of war. Paul writes, "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph. 6:11,12) Ask the Lord to let the Spirit guide you in strengthening, replenishing, or fortifying any aspect of your spiritual armament so you are not vulnerable in any area.

3. The Holy Spirit teaches us the truth that we need to be protected from any false accusations or insinuations. Paul wrote, "Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist." (Eph. 6:14) Truth is essential if we are going to be exposed to all kinds of attacks from the world, the flesh and the devil. Many criticisms will be hurled at forward moving Christians who are engaged in ministries that are advancing the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Ask the Lord to help you let the word of Christ dwell in you richly so that you do not entertain any doubts, fears or insecurities about God’s promises.

4. The Holy Spirit imputes Christ’s righteousness to us and assures us with the righteousness we acquire through His fruits. Paul writes, "With the breastplate of righteousness in place." (Eph. 6:14b) Ask the Lord to help you be more thankful for all aspects of His imputed righteousness and seek to live a more holy life that is evidenced by the Spirit’s fruits of righteousness in all aspects of your life.

5. The Holy Spirit empowers us to share the gospel in a way that lets us become His witnesses. Paul writes, "And with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." (Eph. 6:15) Ask the Lord to help you share the gospel in the Spirit’s power so that you are inspired, informed and persuasive witnesses for Christ.

6. The Holy Spirit increases the quality and quantity of your faith. Paul writes, "In addition to all of this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." (Eph. 6:16) The Spirit gives greater faith to those who have obediently trusted the Lord to use us in ways that cannot be done through human strength, wisdom or connections. Ask the Lord to help you grow in the quantity and quality of your faith.

7. The Holy Spirit helps us gain greater understanding of the strength of our salvation. Paul writes, "Take the helmet of salvation." (Eph. 6:17) David wrote, "The Lord is my light and my salvation (Deliverer) - whom shall I fear." (Psa. 27:1) When we are assured of our salvation, nothing can shake our confidence in what God is doing overtly or covertly in our lives or ministries.

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