What the Bible says about Prayer
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
6 Third, believers should be prayerful instead of "anxious". This verb can mean "to be concerned about" in a proper Christian sense (cf. 2:20), but here the meaning is clearly that of anxiety, fretfulness, or undue concern (cf. Mt 6:25-34). Paul is not calling for apathy or inaction, for as we make plans in the light of our circumstances, it is our Christian privilege to do so in full trust that our Father hears our prayers for what we need. The answer to anxiety is "prayer", a word that denotes the petitioner's attitude of mind as worshipful. "Petition" denotes prayers as expressions of need. "Thanksgiving" should accompany all Christian praying, as the supplicants acknowledge that whatever God sends is for their good. It may also include remembrance of previous blessings.
17 pray continually,
17 Intimately related to constant joy is incessant prayer—the only way to cultivate a joyful attitude in times of trial. Uninterrupted communication with God keeps temporal and spiritual values in balance. "Continually" (cf. 1:2-3; 2:13; Ro 1:9) does not mean nonstop praying. Rather, it implies constantly recurring prayer, growing out of a settled attitude of dependence on God. Whether words are uttered or not, lifting the heart to God while one is occupied with miscellaneous duties is the vital thing. Verbalized prayer will be spontaneous and will punctuate one's daily schedule, as it did Paul's writings (3:11-13; 2Th 2:16-17).
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 through wordless groans.
8:26 The Greek word translated helps is used in Luke 10:40, where Martha wants Mary to come and help her. The word does not indicate that the Holy Spirit prays instead of us, but that the Holy Spirit takes part with us and makes our weak prayers effective. Some interpret the groanings as those uttered by the Holy Spirit, since the text says that He uses these groanings to make intercession. Others see Paul referring to our “groanings” in prayer, since: 1) v. 23 says that “we ourselves groan”; 2) such “groanings,” which seem to imply a degree of distress or anguish, are appropriate for creatures (vv. 22, 23), but not for the Creator; 3) this sentence explains the first sentence in v. 26, which says that the Spirit “helps” us, not that the Spirit replaces our prayers.
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