Best of Daily Reflections: When You Don’t Know What to Pray

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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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 with groans that words cannot express.

Romans 8:26

If you were to peek into my office during one of my most frustrated moments, you might see this: A blinking cursor on a blank Microsoft Word document. A frustrated stack of scribbled notes. A woman, with her head in her hands, uttering, “Help me, God. Help me, God. Help me, God.”

Sometimes, that’s the only prayer I can muster when I hit a roadblock in my work. For me as a writer, that roadblock often looks like writer’s block.

I don’t know what your most common roadblock is, but I’m guessing you have one. The figures aren’t adding up. The money’s not coming in. The orders aren’t going out. And the expenses aren’t going down.

It can all be quite overwhelming.

But here’s the good news. You aren’t struggling alone. Even if you’re the last one in the office, sitting in your cubicle under dimmed lights, you are not alone.

God is with you, and He is in you. He comes to work with you every day, not only to equip you for your tasks, but to help you when you get stuck.

God is the great un-sticker of stuck work. And one of the ways he does that is by praying for you. God sees your clenched jaw, hears your guttural sigh, and responds to your meager, “Help me out here, God, because I don’t know what to do.”

Paul tells us that something mysterious happens when we are in need but don’t know what to pray.

“The Spirit himself intercedes for us.”

A few verses later, Paul adds: “Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

That’s all three members of the Trinity working on your behalf, even when you aren’t sure how to make it work at all. The Triune God is assisting you in the work of prayer, when you are tongue-tied and troubled.

God called you to the work you’re in today. He has a stake in it, so that should give us all hope. He won’t leave us to our own resources—or our own prayers—as we carry out his work in the world.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you struggle with knowing how to pray at work? Is it hard for you to believe that the Holy Spirit is interceding for us, even in our everyday tasks? How might you take one step today toward believing that Romans 8:26 is true for you in your work?

PRAYER: Dear Holy Spirit, Ugh. Oofda. Ohhhh nooooo. That’s our prayer today, God. It’s not pretty, but it’s how we’re feeling. We are grateful that you know precisely what our frustrated groans mean. Take our groans, and turn them into prayers, in accordance with your will. Amen.


God at Work

Where is God? Does he inhabit only the sanctuaries and monasteries and seminaries of the earth? Or, is God with you in your cubicle, your classroom, your kitchen, your conference call? What about the carpool lane? And if God is there with you, what does that mean? Join us for this series, God at Work, where we explore what it means that God is not only at work in you, but also, quite literally, with you. It may be difficult to see the Kingdom of God through the deadlines and reports and meetings and evaluations and budgets, but be encouraged: he is there. Together, let’s find him in the ordinary places you work, and let’s consider how his presence makes a difference for good.