Who Prays When You Pray? A K Whitehead
When we pray, who does praying? Almost any knowledgable Christian will give same response to that question. In fact, it is a questions which separates knowledgable from less knowledgeable Christian.
The response, of course, ought to be that it is Holy Spirit who does praying, not us. For example, Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:18 that we should pray in Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. So however we are praying and whatever we are praying for, it should be Holy Spirit who is doing praying.
But is it?
Establishing Our Priorities Sometimes we are so caught up in our own problems and difficulties that we perhaps miss-remember what Paul tells us in Romans 8. 26. We behave as if he said that, when we do not know what to pray for, Holy Spirit will pray on our behalf.
In fact, when we think about it, that would be a contradiction of Ephesians 6. 18. Of course, what Paul actually says in Romans 8:26 is that "Spirit helps us in our weakness." This weakness is a general condition, not a specific one! For Paul goes on to say that "We do not know what we ought to pray for, but Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." (New International Version).
Again note that there is a general statement here: "We do not know...", He does not say "On those occasion when we do not know what to pray for..."
We often think we know what to pray for. Some of us may consider that we always know what to pray for. We either ignore what Paul says, or we do not know what he says, or we do not want to meet what he says "head on", as it were.
In effect, we establish our own priorities in prayer. Moreover, we establish in them preference to whatever priorities of Holy Spirit happen to be.
Some Of Our Problems There are several important problems which we tend to have in allowing Spirit to establish his own priorities in our prayers.
1. We lack faith. We do have faith, certainly, but do we use it? If we don't, it will not grow. Here, we need to have sufficient faith to know that Spirit does hear us and responds to us.
2. We lack trust. This is certainly a strict concomitant of faith. If we do not have sufficient of former, we shall certainly be deficient in latter! Can we trust Spirit to pray through us? and for what is most needed at this time?