I Don’t Know What to Pray

It seems that at times when I need prayer the most, I don’t even know what to say. I’m not sure if everyone feels this way or if it is just part of my personality makeup.

If you know me well at all, we have probably had at least one conversation about Myers Briggs personality types. The MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Inventory) fascinates me on so many levels, so much so that I became an MBTI consultant. One of the most useful aspects of knowing your loved one’s type is knowing how that type reacts under severe stress. In one of my certification classes it was described this way: Your dominant personality function is driving your car, but when you are “in the grip” and nothing seems to be working, the complete opposite personality function takes over. It is as if the baby riding in a carseat in the back of your car leaps out, pushes you out of the way, and takes the wheel. Since you don’t normally use this function of your personality, you don’t use it very well. I’m sure you have witnessed a quiet, kind individual suddenly lash out in anger and then say, “I’m sorry, I don’t know what came over me!”

In my case, my personality preference of “extraverted feeler,” means that when I am really, REALLY upset, I morph into an “introverted thinker.” I’m not very good at it since I don’t flex that introverted thinking muscle very often. So instead of effectively and efficiently problem solving like a skilled introverted thinker, I clam up, ruminate, don’t want to talk to anyone, and feel unable to receive any outside comfort. Thankfully, God in His mercy has a remedy for me even when I’m at my worst.

“…He bore the sins of many and makes intercession for the transgressors.”

Isaiah 53:12c (ESV)

Jesus, on the cross, bore our sin and still intercedes for us. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, I am gifted with the Holy Spirit who prays for me when I don’t know what to pray.

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words.”

Romans 8:26 (ESV)

When I am at my worst, I have the confidence that while I am frozen in stress, God is still working. He cares and is actively praying for me when I don’t know what to pray. Not only that but the Spirit knows exactly what to pray. The Holy Spirit is God and prays according to His will. He knows exactly how I feel and what I need even when I don’t.

“And He who searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

Romans 8:27 (ESV)

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Well, You Have to Admit

To receive God’s gift of salvation, you have to admit you need it.  The problem is that many of us don’t want to admit we have a sin problem. Not to ourselves. Not to anyone else. 

Have you seen that old commercial by LifeLock? The “dentist” tells his patient that he has one of the worse cavities that he has ever seen and then starts to leave. The patient asks in a panic, “Aren’t you going to fix it?” The dentist calmly and coldly replies that he is not a dentist but a dental monitor! Praise God that He is a sin cleanser and not a sin monitor!  

God always had a plan to cleanse us from sin as we see in Ezekiel 36.

“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe my ordinances.”

Ezekiel 36:26-27, NASB

Every single one of us needs saving. John tells us bluntly, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (I John 1:8, ESV).” Bad news unless you read the next verse, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9, ESV).”

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned – every one – to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

Isaiah 53:6, ESV

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