Sermonette for Saturday

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Romans 8:26

What does our text today have to do with Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, and dear personal friends of the Lord Jesus? You will remember the account of these two sisters in Luke 10, where Martha, burdened (cumbered) with the work of preparing the meal for their special Guest, and seeing Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet hearing His word, implores Jesus: ‘Bid her therefore that she help me’. Martha was looking for someone familiar with the kitchen and the dining room, someone able to carry out the necessary tasks of providing the meal with familiarity and ease. The Greek word for ‘help’ that Martha used, ‘sunantilambano’, is used only one other time in the New Testament: in our text. The help that Martha was hoping for from Mary is the help that the Holy Spirit gives to us in our prayer life.

Why do we need help with our prayers? Because we don’t always know or understand the mind and will of God. Let’s take the readily available example of an election. We ought to pray for the election, for sure. But what do we ask our Father to do? There is probably a candidate or party that we would like to see win, or a candidate or party that we don’t want to see win. But the powers that be are ordained of God (Romans 13:1). God’s purposes and plans for the future are far beyond our understanding. How do we know which candidate or party God has ordained to win? Obviously, we don’t. But the Holy Spirit does. So we commit the election to Him.

There is a caveat in our prayers: our text tells us that we pray as we ought. That means we are to pray with God’s will in mind. It is always God’s will for sinners to be saved, so we are praying as we ought when we pray for salvation, for Gospel meetings, and for Gospel preachers, as well as those we know are under the sound of the Gospel, and those of our loves ones who we long to see saved. It is always God’s will that His people be edified, strengthened, and increasing in our knowledge of Him. So that prayer is always appropriate. According to the Word of God, we are to pray for all those in authority ‘that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty’ – 1 Timothy 2:2. So we pray as we ought when we pray for counsellors, mayors, MLAs, premiers, MPs, the prime minister, and the Queen, And you can add many others to that list. Ask the Lord, He will help you to know who and what to pray for.

‘The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much’ – James 5:16. And to our effectual fervent prayers, the Holy Spirit contributes all the divine help we need. Let us pray! -Jim MacIntosh

Comments are closed.