Romans 8:26 NIV
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.
Do you only pray when you need something from God? Is your prayer life confused by what God is or isn't doing from day to day? Do you see God as a vending machine full of things you desire, or things He desires for you?
Moses prayed to God in Exodus 14 and God asked him, "why are you crying...?" Jesus was sleeping on the boat and the disciples woke Him up frantic about the storm and scared for their lives, and Jesus asks them, "...why are you so afraid?" Have you noticed that sometimes your prayers are answered immediately and other times, it seems, not at all. God told Moses to have the Israelites "move on" and stop waiting around, hold out your staff and part the waters. When Jesus calmed the storm the disciples were in awe and stood in amazement saying, "even the winds and waves obey Him." It would seem that our prayer is some how connected to our actions of obedience in our walk of faith. Sometimes we are overly concerned with the "figuring it out" part of the process. How many of us must have it all figured out before moving on? Be honest...are you in love with God based on what He gives you or based on what you can do for Him?
In Colossians 4:2, Paul writes: “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (NKJV). Jesus also encouraged His followers to pray: “Then He [Jesus] spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1, NKJV). Interesting how these two verses don't mention complaining or begging while praying. We pray and ask, and plea, and try our best to convince God we need this or that in our lives in order to be happy. Yet the Word tells us to be grateful with praise while praying. So we get confused, in our efforts of figuring out God, while we talk to Him incorrectly. Sometimes just allowing the Spirit to groan inside of us might be better? I remember once telling God in prayer that if he would just "do this" then I would be a better person. That's twisted religion.
Look at how non-believers perceive certain prayer:
Asked about Friday’s terrorist attacks during an interview with German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, the Dalai Lama downplayed the power of pleading with deities. “We cannot solve this problem only through prayers,” he said, possibly referencing worldwide calls to #PrayForParis. “I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.”
Noting that people want to live peaceful lives, he dismissed Friday’s terrorist attacks as “short-sighted,” suggesting this mentality contributes to many suicide bombings. Though the Dalai Lama did not further analyze the causes of last week’s attacks, he acknowledged the problem of chronic aggression around the world.
“The twentieth century was a violent one, and more than 200 million people died due to wars and other conflicts. We now see a spillover of the previous century’s bloodshed in this century,” he said. One estimate suggests his figures are low and that governments killed over 250 million of their own people alone last century. Curated from The Anti-Media.
Have we watered down what prayer really should be in this society? I'm not saying that we should not pray. I pray all day, literally. If you can work all day and have thoughts of confusion, worry or anxiety constantly running through your head. With excuses, schedules and to-do lists that build up stress you claim you cannot control, then you can pray all day in place of all that mess. Try it, I dare you to let God give you that kind of peace!
Vending machines give you what you want when you want, with the exception of that time you found a vending machine that didn't have anything you wanted. Right? Then it is useless to you. It becomes a frustration. You cry and think that things never go your way.
In Exodus the Israelites, while in slavery, prayed to God to help them be better slaves!? Pharaoh got upset and had the supervisors take away all the straw they needed for bricks. They had the same quota, but they had to go find their own straw. No doubt they prayed, “God, please give us straw so that we can make our quotas.” They had been pushed down for so long. They had such a limited vision when they were praying for more straw. They weren't finding more straw in their prayer vending machine, God had bigger and better plans to free them completely. Not only free them, but give them the Promised Land.
That spouse you are praying for might not be in your prayer vending machine, God could have bigger plans or someone better. But if you are looking for the person you think is "right", then you might miss who God has handpicked for you. What if God has plans for you to go on a missions trip to meet this person? Ever think about that?
That job or career decision you are begging God to fulfill might not be loaded into your prayer vending machine. God might have removed that option from B5 and moved something better into G1 that you need to keep moving towards in order to discover it. Make you think?
The financial problems you have, either created by poor decisions or outside forces, that you are waiting on God to resolve. What if you are not asking big enough? Have you repented for the poor decisions? Have you thanked God for giving you this test to show His glory in your life. Are you sharing your testimony on what God is about to do in your situation to others? Start moving and proclaiming, and stop focusing on the problem.
Your problems are not in your prayer vending machine, your understanding of what you think you need aren't either. Only God's plans, blessing, desires and answers are loaded into the storehouses of Heaven. If you are being obedient to His Word, speaking with Him through out the day, and helping others who need to see God in you then God will take care of you. Or is your way of figuring everything out working better? Do we really know how to talk with God effectively?