While praying the will of God is partnering with the Father, we have some fellow Prayer Partners in this teaming-up process. Who are these Partners? The Son and the Holy Spirit! Allow me to explain. We must remember that Jesus is constantly interceding for us, His prayers being perfectly in line with the will of the Father. Regarding our Saviour we read: “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8:34); “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). Concerning the Holy Spirit, Jesus said: “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:14). Take note in particular of the sentences, “Whatever He hears He will speak” and, “He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” What belongs to Jesus includes those prayers He prays for us while seated at the right hand of the Father. He prays the will of God because He and the Father are One and He always does what pleases the Father (John 10:30; John 8:29). It is impossible for Father and Son to have opposing viewpoints or be disjointed. The Holy Spirit hears these prayers prayed by Christ and also, knows the will of God Himself intimately. “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God” we read in 1 Corinthians 2:11. The Spirit communicates these truths to us. How? Primarily, as we read the word of God, He illuminates the promises therein. Then, as we pray these promises and thereby line up our prayers with the will of God, the Spirit labours as our Prayer Partner, praying together with us to the Father. He wraps Himself around our words, joining us in our intercession. In Romans we read (I have added some words in square brackets for the sake of clarification): “Now He [God] who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He [the Spirit] makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:27).
In short, when we pray the will of God, our Prayer Partner – the Holy Spirit – is praying with us and through us to the Father. And, when we pray the will of God, our prayers line up with those of Christ as well. In essence, both the Son and the Spirit are our Prayer Partners. This is a truth that encourages us greatly in our prayer walk. We are not alone. We have the best Prayer Partners imaginable! And, the Father hastens to answer the petitions of Son, Spirit and saint. In his epistles, Paul often urged his readers to pray in the Spirit. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” is one such example of this apostolic directive (Ephesians 6:18). Naturally, this could mean praying in our heavenly language. However, this directive also refers to us praying the will of God in an earthly language, in partnership with the Spirit.
What about when our prayers do not line up with the will of God? Now, I am not speaking about those prayers which go against his will due to our own arrogance, selfish ambition or lazy refusal to read His word and understand His will. We read in James what the fruit of these prayers will be: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). Rather, I am speaking about sincere, heartfelt prayers that are misdirected because of misplaced enthusiasm or childish ignorance. What happens with these prayers? Does the Holy Spirit leave us high and dry? No! He takes what He can from our prayers and adds some will-of-God padding. We can determine this by what we read in Romans: “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26). That word translated, “helps” is the Greek mouthful, sunantilambanomai. This word speaks about laying hold of something together with someone else, providing support that directly corresponds to the need at hand. This is exactly what the Spirit does. When we pray, He joins us in our prayers and provides what is lacking, padding them with the will of God and travailing before the throne together with us. How glorious! I have seen this in my own life. I have prayed sincerely for things that I have believed are His will. Then, while I do not receive those things, I find myself receiving that for which I had not prayed but actually needed more than what I thought I needed. I am sure you have experienced the same!
Please watch out for the next part in the TEACH US TO PRAY series, coming soon.