Bible in 90 – Day 80: What should we pray?

In the same way, the Spirit comes to help our weakness. We don’t know what we should pray, but the Spirit itself pleads our case with unexpressed groans.

Romans 8:26

©2010 Todd Rossnagel

There are times when there are no words. Our need and the need of the world is so great that we don’t know where to begin.

We have been living those days. Pictures from across the globe are terrifying, wars, pestilence, and natural disasters create chaos, hunger, and human suffering. Prayer at these times might seem petty, a cop-out, in light of the enormous need.

It would be easy to just ignore everything and not even pray. Why bother? We might think, the need is so great, “my little prayer is not going to make a difference.” At times like this we recognize how weak we are, how needy, how helpless, how dependent on others and on God.

It is good to know that at times like these the Spirit takes over and intercedes on our behalf. Knowing our need, for healing, for wholeness, for hope, the Spirit empowers us so that we can be reminded that the world is God’s own.

It is also at times like these that the prayers of the church, especially the Lord’s Prayer, come out of our mouths more easily. No words founds means that we gather rehearsed words, worn words, deep words, words that have survived the test of time, words that connect us with times long gone and times long waited for. This is why we need these words in our hearts, for the times when there are no words, these become the Spirit’s unexpressed groans for those of us who have been given those words as part of our baptismal community.

And so we pray: “Our Father . . .”

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