Chapter 10:: When You Are Overwhelmed... Pray!
one sight from a wounded soul,
excels and prevails with God.
First, when you are overwhelmed, you have the Bible, which is God's guidebook for dealing with all of life and its every challenge (2 Peter 1:3)
Second, you and I can thank our Lord that through the act of prayer we can seek the heart and mind of God in our difficult situations.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
A word for you-- Again I say to you, "Thank God!" Thank Him that He knows your weaknesses, that He knows your heart, that He knows your suffering, that He knows your desire and your need to pray. He also knows when you cannot pray, so He, through His Holy Spirit, comes to your rescue and prays for you! Thank Him that He has so graciously allowed this avenue of prayer, this whisper, this sigh, this groan of prayer by the Spirit, for those times when words and understanding fail you. You can pour out the contents of your broken, confused heart as best you can, if you can(!)... and leave the rest of your efforts to communicate with God to the power and ability of the Holy Spirit.
Checklist for Prayer
- Do your best--Sometimes your heart cries out, "It hurts so much! It's so bad I don't think I can pray!" What are you to do when this happens? First, remember such feelings are okay! They are normal. They are common (1 Corinthians 10:13) This happens to everyone. This is not an indictment against your spirituality. You haven't failed.
Just begin. That's your part. God's part is to "join in and help" you pray. He will perfect your fumbling attempts to do the right thing--to pray even when your heart hurts so badly that you are not sure what to pray or how to pray. He will intercede and groan for you. As explained by a Greek scholar, "The Holy Spirit lays hold of our weaknesses along with us and carries His part of the burden facing us as if we were carrying a log, one at each end."
- Try to pray-- At other times, we throw our hands up, turn our heads and hearts up to heaven, and say to God, "I don't know what to pray!" Once again, remember this too is okay. It's normal. It's common. It happenes to everyone. Again, your confusion and inability are not indictments against your spirituality. You haven't failed.
- Watch your heart--Don't worry about your words. It's your heart that counts! But God is not as interested in your words as He is in your heart! Man looks--and hears--on the outside, but God looks at--and hears--the heart (1 Samuel 16:7)
Answering God's Call to You
--The Holy Spirit intercedes for you (verse 26)
--God is for you (verse 31)
--Christ makes intercession for you (verse 34)
So my prayer for you at this moment is that you will let the prayers of your heart flow! When you are in pain... pray! When you are speechless...pray! When you are heartsick...pray! When you are suffering, beaten up, or beaten down by life...pray! When you are troubled or perplexed...pray! When you are overwhelmed...pray! Your heavenly Father knows what you have need of before you ask (Matthew 6:32)... so ask. Use any fumbling words or wails you can muster up out of your hurting heart. Just to be sure you pray... and leave the rest to God.