Any parent, babysitter, or daycare worker has seen a two-year temper tantrum. It’s not a pretty sight!
When my two-year-old son has one of those tantrums, it’s not because he is mad that I’ve taken away what he wants, or that he’s not getting his way. It’s because something is wrong and he doesn’t know how to tell me what is wrong.
I’ve learned that he’s either hungry, thirsty, or tired. He knows something is not right, but he doesn’t know how to tell me what is wrong. Maybe he doesn’t even know what is wrong. He just knows that he is unhappy. So, I give him one of those three things until he settles down.
As Christians there are times in our lives when things aren’t the way we think they should be. We know that we should pray, but we aren’t sure what to pray for or even how to pray for it.
Thankfully, God helps us in this area. Paul told the believers in Rome, “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will” (Romans 8:26-27, NLT).
The Holy Spirit helps us with more than just prayer. “For example,” in verse 26 is an explanatory phrase about how the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. One of the ways that he helps us in our weaknesses is through prayer.
The help the Holy Spirit gives us isn’t just a casual help. The text says that he “pleads” for us believers. The dictionary defines “pleads” as a request from someone on behalf of someone else; “to argue a case or cause” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition); or “to make an emotional appeal” (Concise Oxford English Dictionary).
In other words, this isn’t a casual thing that the Holy Spirit does. He doesn’t help us when he has free time, is in a good mood, or thinks that we deserve it. It’s something he actively does on our behalf. It’s part of who he is as a person.
My job as a loving parent is to give my son what he needs even when he doesn’t know what he needs. And our loving God, who also is our spiritual parent, helps us when we don’t know how to pray or what to pray for.
Christopher Scott is associate pastor at Rocky Hill Community Church in Exeter. He may be reached by calling 559-730-1906.
-Prays Together is a rotating column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.
– This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.