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. Romans 8:26 NIV
Have you ever wondered whether your prayers ascended higher than the ceiling? Have you ever
wondered, if God knows all, why do I need to pray about things he already knows? Have you ever
wondered whether your prayers for those you love make any difference? Have you ever wondered
why it is so difficult to have a consistent and biblical prayer life? Have you ever wondered why in the
world you should pray at all?
These questions, and similar ones, have been asked by humanity since time began. Each one
of us goes through seasons in our spiritual journey that seem to raise the questions afresh with each
change in our life experience. The desire, I believe, of all disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ is to have
an effective prayer life. If an effective prayer life is a goal, what does it look like? What are the
components? How do I know if I have it?
Prayer reveals my relationship with my Lord and Savior. We all know persons on different
levelssome are mere acquaintances, some are community neighbors, some are colleagues at work,
some are family, and some are close personal friends. I see praying to and with Jesus in somewhat
the same light. In Romans 8:26, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in prayer to God the Father. In
order to intercede, a fairly close relationship would seem to be required. Each one of us will
determine what level of relationship we desire to have with God, which will in turn, I believe,
determine our prayer life. Martha and I have been married for forty-four years. We have had
thousands of conversations. Yet in order to deepen the relationship, there is a desire and need to
continue to have effective and beneficial conversations. Within a marriage, conversations deepen the
level of intimacy so the mates understand each others thoughts and feelings.
Prayer to and with the Trinity is part of the ongoing work of building a relationship. The
image we carry in our hearts and minds of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit
will determine, to a great degree, the quality of the relationship. Our image needs to be based in
Scripture so that our relationship can fulfill the design given by our creator.
Effective praying, then, is measured not so much by results as by relationship. As I
commune with my Lord and Savior, sharing my deepest thoughts, hurts, and aspirations, the results
of life will take care of themselves. Jesus walked the earth building relationships with those he
touched. Those relationships produced results of one type or another. Effective praying is building a
strong and biblical relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Lord, as I share my deepest thoughts, hurts, and aspirations with you in prayer, will you take care of the results,
helping me in my weakness? As I build a strong, intimate, biblical relationship with you, make me effective in
touching others with your healing grace and peace. Amen.
-Dr. Ronald V. Duncan, General Director, Church of God Ministries