todd shupe lsu

The Right Prayer Is...

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.  And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27 NIV).


As Christians, we all know that prayer is our direct means of communication with God.  Through our prayers and petitions we communicate with God our needs, worries, and joys.  Some people have a poor prayer life because they are not certain how to pray.   What do I say?  Do I have to be alone with a candle?  Should I speak out loud? 

I feel it is much more important that we communicate with God rather than not communicate because we are paralyzed with uncertainty on how to pray.  Who you are talking to is so much more important than your words.  The Bible tells us in Matthew 6:8, “…your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”  Jesus then proceeds in Matthew 6 to bless us and tell us how to pray.  You may already know it as the Lord’s Prayer, which is found in Matthew 6:9-13


You may wonder if He already knows what I need and what I am going to say then why I should I pray?  As for me, I yearn for prayer because it is a key means to understand the One whose love for me is constant and unconditional.  My relationship with Jesus is not based on rules regarding how to pray but is based on mutual love.   Sometimes I am too tired to pray or simply too overwhelmed.   I am comforted that, “…the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).

The Psalms are beautiful and moving prayers.   They express the range of human emotions from anger to love.   We all feel disappointed, frustrated, or with God or with others from time to time.  God wants us to take it all to Him in prayer and leave it with Him.  The enemy wants us to keep it and allow it to grow and separate us from Him.  God understands all of our emotions, and it is ok to express our anger, disappointment, or frustration with Him.  Many characters in the Bible did this.   I encourage you to read Psalm 13, Jonah 4, the Book of Job, Numbers 20, and Genesis 4 to name a few. 


So, what is the right prayer?  Is it the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), the prayer of Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:9-10), or something else?  The right prayer is the one offered with confidence and thanksgiving that God already knows what you need and is already at work in delivering it to you. 



Prayer:  Dear God, We often do not know what to pray when life is so cruel.  Help us to find contentment in all circumstances.  We thank you for the Holy Spirit that intercedes for us in accordance with your perfect will.  We thank you for your son Jesus and the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.  And dear God, we thank you for always loving us and never leaving us.  Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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