Over the past month I have been spending some time taking a fresh look at prayer and how Jesus prayed and what we can learn from him and from many others throughout history. It’s been very refreshing but also deeply challenging and I hope to post some more thoughts on this over the weeks ahead.
There is something very powerful but also quite mysterious to think of God as someone who is known to be the “searcher of hearts”. A God who pursues us.
Over the years I have learnt much about prayer and having communion with the father and I am still on a journey of learning. It can be a real challenge. Something that should come so naturally and be so easy to “talk to our father” yet for many of us it is very often our greatest battle ground. Its amazes me how many distractions can pop in to pull you off track and break into that planned time.
To pray earnestly requires your time, effort, taking action, being disciplined and a change of priorities. Moving from the place of simply praying as a fleeting passing moment in the day to inhabiting his presence is a heart issue. My heart is very often the issue and if we are all honest we can definately identify with this.
In Romans 8 v26 & 27 it says;
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 groanings too deep for words.
And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Have you ever thought about what it is God is searching for when he searches the heart?
What is he really wanting to find, and what happens when he finds it?
God is searching the dark places of our hearts and as he searches he comes across all sorts of things which we often would rather remain hidden. But the thing that he is most wanting to find above all else, and which according to Apostle Paul he ought to find in Christians, is the sound of the Spirits groaning.
At the very moment when we are struggling to pray, and have no idea even what to pray for, just at that point the spirit is most obviously at work. The spirit calls out of us not articulate speech but a groaning which cannot at that moment be put into words.
It becomes prayer beyond prayer, which dives down into the cold, dark depths beyond human sight of knowing but not beyond the “searcher of hearts”.
Well known author and theologian N. T. Wright describes it like this;
“Not just of the world or the church, but of God, we discover that the transcendent creator is continually in communion with the spirit who dwells in the hearts of his people. God understands what the spirit is saying, even though we do not. God hears and answers prayer which we only know as painful groaning, the tossing and turnings of an unquiet spirit standing before its maker with the pains and puzzles of the world heavy on its heart.
There is a challenge here to every church, and every believer to be willing to shoulder the task of prayer of this kind, prayer in which we are caught up in the loving, groaning, redeeming dialogue between the father and the spirit”.