I expected to hear from someone on my statement, “It is not about what we say, but what God says.” A strong argument can be made against me. Since no one made it, I will make it myself. God really does want to hear what we say. He loves to hear our voices. He delights to hear our desires. As a father enjoys his children asking for help, direction, and blessings; so does God.
I am not being contradictory with you or myself. I am actually referring to two different types of prayer. One is what I call soapbox prayer meetings. These are the times when we dictate to God what we want, when we want it, how He should do it and when He should answer. Matthew 6:7 describes these prayers as ‘babbling like pagans who think they can be heard because of their many words.” It is in these prayer times that it would be wise for us to be still and not speak at all.
But if we truly understand prayer and come into His Presence to hear from Him then it is possible, even probable, that we not only hear His voice but we will become His voice. These are the prayers that delight His heart and move His hand.
Here is an example of babbling prayers verses praying His will. A beloved pastor suddenly takes ill and is in the hospital enduring countless tests that are inconclusive. I gathered a few friends and we met in the sanctuary for prayer. We waited upon the Lord seeking His voice as to what the cause and cure was to be. I must admit we were astounded at what God revealed. We prayed as He directed and when we left hours later we knew our pastor was healed and would be released from the hospital the next day with no diagnosis ever being made by a doctor.
The next morning at the women’s Bible study, the leader called for special prayer. Around the circle, the ladies prayed. One was into natural remedies so therefore she prayed for him to find alternative doctors. Another was sure he wasn’t eating properly and prayed for him a wife. Some prayed for the doctors to have wisdom, others prayed for the pastor to have faith enough for healing. Each woman prayed their own words, their own agenda, and each was assured she was right. I will never forget when a new believer whispered to me, “How do we know which one is right? Do we just wait to see what happens next?” Even she knew there was no unity. To God’s glory, our pastor was released that afternoon. The doctors were puzzled but the pastor was in perfect health.
I do not believe Romans 8:26-27 is only for those times when we are confused and overwhelmed with the events around us. This verse says:
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. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
I am weak and dumb enough to admit that I never know what I ought to pray. There is never a time I see clearly the will of God on my own. In my past and on my own, I have prayed the most foolish of prayers. Some prayers were so ridiculous I now praise Him for not answering them. Others I begged and pleaded long enough that He consented and instantly I knew I didn’t want it after all.
Every time we come into His presence, we need to admit that we do not know how we ought to pray. We need to keep our mouths still until we hear His will on each and every subject. Solomon gives this warning in Ecclesiastes 5:1:
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.
But with this warning comes an amazing invitation. We can approach His Throne and He will pray through us. We can know what is on His heart. We can hear His voice as we listen to our own words coming out of our mouths. In a corporate setting we can hear the unity of God’s will as every yielded prayer is speaking the very heart of God aloud. True prayer is about what is on God’s heart. What He says to us and then through us. True prayer is when our words become His words. When this is happening, there is never a sense of self and never a sense of time.
I encourage you to write out your prayer concerns. But before you utter a word about what you want God to do, ask Him to pray through you. Ask Him what is His will. Ask Him for a verse in His Word that relates to what He is about to do. Sit quietly before Him and wait for Him to change your heart to unite with His will.
When you are praying in a group, listen to the promptings of the Spirit. You will know when your prayer is His will. The unity of your group, the power of the words, the confirmation from the Word of God, the changed lives before you are all evidence of a prayer meeting where God’s voice is heard.