Prayer gives evidence that God is our Father. We are not talking about saying grace at the table or praying in a fox hole when we are in trouble.
Erwin Lutzer said that when we pray, we are not involved alone; God is not just the destination to which our prayers are directed, He is also at the origin of our prayers. We don’t simply have to pray to receive God’s power, we even need God’s power to pray!
This kind of praying proves we are believers. Not mechanical or pharisaical praying. But, as Jude commends, praying in the Spirit.
Paul in Romans 8 teaches the security of the believer. But there is a difference between security and assurance. You can have security because you have been saved but lack assurance of salvation because of a deficient doctrinal background, unconfessed sin, etc. You can have a false assurance because of a false profession and not have security or salvation.
In Romans 8:26-39, we learn that God is For Us. Each person of the Trinity is for us. And each Person of the Trinity involves Himself in our prayer lives. The Trinity is the Biblical truth that God is one in essence but also three persons. Islam only believes in one God. Radical Islam is a religion of hate and if you do not believe in Allah or blaspheme Allah you can pay dearly even with your life. Mormonism, however, teaches that each person in the Trinity is a separate God. They deny there is just one God. But there are three separate gods. As a matter of fact, if you are good Mormon, you can and will become a god and have your own planet with many goddesses in order to produce many spirits that will become gods. Two weeks from this Sunday evening I want to study the New Mormonism with you.
Each Person of the Trinity is For Us.
1. God the Holy Spirit is For Us (8:26-27). He is our Prayer Partner.
2. God the Son is For Us (8:34). We are on His prayer list.
3. God the Father is For Us (8:31-32). He always answers His Son’s prayers.
The Holy Spirit is For Us
1. The Holy Spirit is For Us In Spite of our Weaknesses “likewise the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses.”
We all have weaknesses.
We have physical weaknesses: James writes of physical weaknesses in James 5:14: “Is any sick (same word that Paul uses in Romans 8:26) among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him.”There are also spiritual weaknesses: “He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
In addition to physical and personal weaknesses, some are plagued with personal weaknesses in trials. In 2 Cor 12:10, Paul made this admission: “Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
Truth is we are all weak and at the same time surrounded by weakness: “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6). We can be defeated by this pervasive weakness in others or we can minister to them.
We all have one specific weakness: How or for what to pray.
Even the great Bible characters struggled with knowing for what to pray. Elijah prayed for God to take his life (1 Kings 19:4). Job accused God of wrong in his suffering (Job 19:7). Paul in 2 Cor 12 did not know if it was God’s will to be healed or not. He prayed three times for God to heal him. In Phil 1:21-23, Paul did not know if it was God’s will for him to live or die. Sometimes believers similarly struggle. Should I continue the chemo or not.
Lutzer tells of a mother in Canada who insisted that God heal her sick infant; she demanded that He answer her prayer whether it was God’s best or not. She lived to see that boy tried for murder. We do not have enough facts to make a final evaluation of such situations, but it does remind us that we must leave the ultimate decision to God. Only He knows the future, only He knows best (sermon on Romans 8:26-27 entitle Children of a Greater God).
2. The Holy Spirit is For Us And Helps Us in Our Praying
The Holy Spirit “helps” us.
He does not relieve us of praying. The Holy Spirit is no armchair coach. He helps us pray. You are not alone in your battle. The word use for “helps” was used of a person who carries one end of the log, not the entire log. The word was used by Martha in Luke 10:40, when her sister was sitting on the rug at Jesus’ feet in the living room listening to a Bible study and Martha was in the kitchen slaving away preparing the meal. Martha had all she could take and she stomped into and interrupted the Bible study: “Lord, do you no care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her therefore that she help me.” The Lord replied, “Martha, you need help but not Mary’s help. You need to prioritize your life and put me first.”
The Holy Spirit helps us with godly desires for His will.
Are these groanings the Holy Spirit’s or the believer’s or both? According to 2 Cor 5:2, groanings refer to inward desires: “For in this body we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house (glorified body) in the heavens.” This is the third time in Romans 8, Paul has used groanings or inward desires. The cursed creation is personified as desiring it’s rebirth and wanting the curse lifted. We believers are desiring in our decayed body our new glorified body.
But now, Paul speaks of the Holy Spirit praying and groaning or having desires for believers to know God’s will. Does the Holy Spirit directly pray to the Father or indirectly through us. Remember the Holy Spirit “helps” us in our praying, He does not do all the praying.
Clearly the Holy Spirit prays and just as clearly God the Father searches our hearts.
This is similar to the ministry of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in His ministry in us enabling us to cry, “Abba Father” in 8:14-16. In Galatians 4:6, the Holy Spirit is crying “Abba, Father.” Which is it? It is both. The Holy Spirit indwelling us enables us to cry out God the way a child cries out to his father.
The Holy Spirit puts desires in our hearts for God’s will which we end up praying for. We have two intercessors in Romans 8.
1. We have Christ in Heaven praying for us (8:34). In Peter’s case that we sin not or that our faith fail not. We are on Christ’s prayer list. You and I ask others to pray for us. But when they forget or just fail to pray for us, Jesus never forgets and never fails to pray for us.
2. We have the Holy Spirit praying in us (8:26-27). The advocate or the attorney had two roles. One was to address the bench and the other was to prepare his client what to say when on the witness stand. The Holy Spirit within us helps us know what to say to God by giving us godly desires for His will. Prayer is a partnership with the Holy Spirit.
Jude calls this “praying in the Spirit.” Praying what the Holy Spirit wants you to pray.
There is a connection not only between the Holy Spirit and prayer. There is a connection between the Holy Spirit, prayer, and the Word of God. Listen to the entire Jude reference: “But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.” Jude has already identified the faith as “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” or the doctrines of Scripture.
Listen to some one other verse that show this connection: In Psalm 37:2, David wrote, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” How do we believers delight in the Lord? David answers that question in Psalm 1:1-3 when he describes the believer who is spiritually blessed by the Lord: “Blessed is the man….his delight is in the Law of the Lord and in his law does he meditate day and night.”
The Holy Spirit plants in our hearts desires for God’s will, for which we pray, as we make much of God’s Word.
In 1 Timothy 3:1, Paul wrote, “If any man desire the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.” Notice in this verse, Paul says twice that a man can desire the office of a pastor. This is how God led me to answer the call to preach and prepare for the pastoral ministry. As I read God’s Word, God put an irresistible desire in my heart for his will. Paul in Philippians 2:17, wrote of this leading of God, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Make much of God’s Word in order to know His will.