“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” Romans 8:26
“Come on! We need to get this done!” I snapped.
My youngest son had spaced out watching TV, instead of paying attention to the homework in front of him. As he turned around to face me again, I saw the tears welling up in his eyes.
“I’m sorry,” I said in defeat, “I am tired and frustrated. But that’s no excuse. I should not have yelled at you.”
He nodded his head and looked back at the sheet of paper in front of him. I put my arm around him and smiled at him, “We will get through this if we work together. Let’s try this again.”
He smiled back at me, and soon we got it all done.
God recently reminded me of this moment with my son in my struggle with prayer.
You see, I really want to be a prayer warrior. But I am more of a prayer wimp.
Every time I sit down to pray I get distracted. I start daydreaming or going over my to-do list. Then I remember a text I need to send or an item I forgot to add to the grocery list. I start off with the best of intentions but then find myself staring off into space just like my son did.
And I feel ashamed.
I start to wonder why I can’t get this right after all these years.
But as I contemplated my tendency to get distracted, I thought about that day with my son. I may have been frustrated over my son’s distraction, but God is not like me (thank goodness!). He is a God of overwhelming love, unending forgiveness, and amazing grace.
I may feel angry, disappointed, and ashamed with myself. But God is not. (After all, He already knows I am not perfect.) In fact, when I get distracted, God simply smiles at me. And then He says, “My child, we can get this done together. Let’s try this again.”
The simple truth is that on this side of heaven we are going to struggle with prayer.
In Romans 8:26 the Bible says, “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.”
God knows we need help to pray. Which is why He has the Holy Spirit help us in our weaknesses. But while He knows we need help to pray, He also tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “Never stop praying.”
So, keep trying. Keep showing up. Keep offering your prayers up to the One who knows your heart and sees your desire to honor Him in this area.
And if you get distracted while praying, don’t feel ashamed! God’s grace invites us to try again!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your gift of the Holy Spirit who helps us in our weaknesses. Thank You for not expecting us to be perfect, but instead looking past our mistakes to see our hearts. You see our desire to spend more time in prayer. You see our desire to stay focused on You. Open our eyes to see what distractions we need to remove. I also pray our failures would not cause us to feel ashamed. In those moments remind us of Your unfailing love and amazing grace which invites us to try again.