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Ten short years ago, I began studying prayer references in Scripture as well as the advice given by Christian leaders regarding prayer. I wanted to be sure that I was praying in accordance with God’s will and wanted my prayers to be as effective as possible. I know now that God’s hears all our prayers, even the “stumbly, bumbly” ones I wanted to improve. I was not raised in a home where prayers were practiced and at night I think I was reminded to say my prayers, but I had no role model to follow. I did attend Sunday School regularly but this was in the fifties and early sixties. Our teachers prayed for the class and we weren’t asked for prayer  requests as I’ve seen done in churches today. So I felt I was on my own. Of course, I wasn’t, but I didn’t realize the full meaning of the great gift God had placed within me when I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior.

Everything I had to know is clearly stated in Romans 8:26-27, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”

A few years ago, one of my friends requested that I pray on behalf of her son, who was visiting other churches after having attended their home church from childhood to adulthood and even after marrying. This was one of the first times I had personally been asked to pray for someone and I wanted to make sure I was asking the Lord in the best way possible. As I pondered how to phrase my prayer, I knew I couldn’t just ask that the young man stay at the home church. He was married and had two young daughters. What would God bless? The Holy Spirit led me to request that the Lord give him the wisdom and discernment to make the best decision for his young family. When I shared this with his mother, I could see she was none too pleased, but I was at ease and knew I was asking in the right manner. The young man decided to join a different church and is still there with his family over five years later. Even his mother was pleased after she attended a few holiday programs in which her granddaughters took part. She also listened to the comments they made after attending Sunday School at the new church and realized they were being spiritually nourished much more than they had been at the old home church she loved so dearly. Yes, my prayer was answered, There was living proof!

When in doubt regarding prayer, we need to remember to lean on the Holy Spirit. He will give us the words when we are too distraught to think for ourselves. We are not alone in this complicated world in which we live. We have a loving Father who wants the very best for us and a Holy Spirit to guide us through the problems we face. Give it to the Lord in prayer!