...praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints... Ephesians 6.18
I had just come to my prayer time when it occurred to me that I had no idea what to pray about. I did not have a list of concerns or needs that should be attended to. I was at a loss for what to thank the Lord for. I was not necessarily unprepared to pray. I just didn't know what to pray about.
There was another time when I didn't know how to pray about a particular situation. A dear family member, a faithful Christian, was deathly ill. The medical team attending to her needs had given up all hope for any recovery. However, I was not ready for her to die. Even though she had lived a full and happy life, and even though I was sure that she was going to enjoy eternity in heaven with her Lord, I wanted her to get better. I wanted to pray that she not die, even though I knew if she lived her quality of life would be greatly diminished.
On another occasion, I was faced with a terrible decision. There was great conflict in my church and I knew that either way I went, there would be many feelings hurt on both sides. Again, I didn't know how to pray about the issues. No one seemed to be wrong.
There are times, as these examples illustrate, that we just do not know how we should pray. Our wishes and desires are not necessarily bad, but we do not know for sure that they are what God wants. It is in those times that we need to lay claim to "praying always in the Spirit." We need to just pray. Pray in whatever direction God takes you. Let the Holy Spirit be your intercessory partner.
Many people believe that this verse is an encouragement to pray in tongues. Although that is certainly a possibility, it is not required. We should be listening to God and open to his will for our lives and our prayers.
PRAYER: Help me when I don't know what or how to pray. Allow my relationship with you to be so strong and so intimate that I can always come to you, regardless of my state of mind or my desires. Amen.