Romans 8:26 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.
This verse should remove all hesitation about how to pray! We still have the question of whether we have the right to pray, which actually comes ahead of this one, but there are many passages that address that. The only requirement is humble faith in the One to Whom we are praying; He takes care of everything else. I have run into many people who were hung up over how to pray, but that can only come from a lack of familiarity with genuine prayer. Rote prayers have their place, particularly in teaching little children, but they are just an entry point. I remember an amusing scene from a comedy set during WWII in which an officer told someone to pray, and all he could come up with was “Now I lay me down to sleep…” Not too appropriate in the middle of battle! The point is, God wants us to communicate with Him more than we want to, so He provides everything necessary to facilitate that, most especially by the Holy Spirit. That’s why Paul could tell the Ephesians, “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” Sometimes we hesitate to pray because we think our prayers are too self-centered to be heard, but think about a little baby. Their cries are totally self-centered, but what parent’s heart is not melted by such cries? We can trust God to have the right response to our prayers, just as a wise parent will differentiate between different kinds of crying in their child.
I now realize the extreme blessing it was to be raised in a home where prayer was as natural as breathing. I wish everyone had that blessing! I’ve not been the most effective teacher on prayer, because my feeling has been, what’s to teach? Personally, I recognize that I have room to grow in various areas of prayer, but I feel no hesitation at all to pray, in any and every situation. As a pastor, I consciously choose different people for various situations of public prayer, not because I have any hesitation to pray myself, but to give them more experience and boldness in praying in front of others. I earnestly desire that this church be a praying people, fully useful to God because we communicate with Him continuously, for His pleasure and glory.
Father, thank You for the great privilege of prayer. Help me never take it lightly. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit to guide and empower my prayers whatever language I’m using. May I be effective as a teacher and an example so that many may be brought into the intimacy of prayer that You desire, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!