When You Don't Know How to Pray, the Holy Spirit Fills in the Gaps
It’s really cool and a little creepy how Google knows what I’m thinking.
Like when I start to type something in the search bar and it completes my inquiry for me. I type “how to make” and it continues, “iced coffee.” Why yes, that is what I was thinking. The autocomplete technology seems to read my mind and form the words I was thinking without me having to speak them.
Or how I no longer have to click on words with a red squiggly line beneath them and choose the proper spelling. I can effortlessly spell correctly because the autocorrect technology just changes it for me. It recognizes my error and corrects it, replacing my misspelled word with the right one.
Despite the fact that autocomplete and autocorrect are complicated technologies designed by humans, sometimes it seems as if they are people who know me and get me. They complete my thoughts and change my words into what I meant to say. In our prayer life, the Holy Spirit can be a lot like those technology features.
The Holy Spirit completes my thoughts and corrects my desires, transferring my prayers to the throne of God.
You see, there are times I want to pray, but I don’t even know the words. I begin, “Dear, God, please . . .” but then my human emotions get in the way, jumbling my thoughts and leaving me confused about how to continue. There have been times in life when I’ve thought, God, I don’t even know what to pray. But in those moments, I trust the power of the Holy Spirit who completes my thoughts and takes my prayers to the Lord. He knows my needs and articulates them to the Father better than I ever could.
Paul says it like this, “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 through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).
Isn’t it a relief to know that we don’t always have to have the words? That the Holy Spirit serves as our autocomplete? He knows us better than we know ourselves and knows what we need before we do.
When we can’t find the words, we can trust He will complete those prayers for us.
Not only will He complete our prayers, but He will also correct them. When the desires of my heart don’t match the will of the Lord, the Holy Spirit steps in with His autocorrecting power to convict me and show me the right desire. He takes what I thought I wanted and shifts my heart to match the will of God because He knows what the Father wants when I don’t. He imparts spiritual wisdom into our hearts when we are blinded by the limitations of human wisdom.
“But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’—these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9-11).
Sometimes this autocorrrecting of the desires of my prayers isn’t as automatic as I’d like. Sometimes, he has to correct my heart multiple times. Sometimes, I want to hold onto my misspelled desires, failing to trust that God knows better.
I need the Holy Spirit to point out that my selfish, narrow desires don’t match the bigger, more beautiful plan God has for me. I need His wisdom and His guidance.
Friends, turn on the power of the Holy Spirit and allow Him to complete and correct your prayers. Confess that you are a sinner saved by the blood of Jesus’ death on the cross and given eternal life by the power of His resurrection. Declare Jesus as your personal Savior and accept the Holy Spirit into your life . . . and let Him lead. Through Jesus, give God your life and take hold of the Holy Spirit.
I know I’m a sinner in need of saving. Thank you for the forgiveness of my sins and the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus. Thank you for the Holy Spirit who gives wisdom and guidance. Holy Spirit, I want to be led by you. Take my prayers, complete them and correct them.
In Your will, through Your power, and for Your glory,