My 6 year-old daughter, Reese, had a playdate one day with a friend. The plan was to paint on canvases with – get this- their feet! At first, both girls were unsure. They didn’t know quite what to make of it. Were their moms really telling them to make a mess? After the initial shock wore off, Reese started to squish her toes in the paint. The more she did it, the more she loved it. She added more colors. She laughed and fell over when it was slippery. Once she believed that you can paint with something other than your hands, the whole thing was such fun.
The other little girl? Refused to budge. No WAY was she going to paint with her feet. Feet were made for walking, and hands were made for painting. Because she could not open herself up to a new way of doing things, she missed out on connecting with her friend in a fun way and learning something new.
We can do the same thing with prayer. When we want God to stay in His little spot, neatly lined up next to our Bible and our prayer journal, we will miss out on all He has for us. Prayer isn’t always neat and perfectly spoken. It is messy and unruly at times. This is because we are complex creatures that were created to express ourselves in a multitude of ways, just like God.
For this last week of #theFives, I challenge you to “paint with your feet.”
“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.”
We have all faced crushing moments. Whether a death, a divorce, or a sickness, we can identify with a loss of words towards God. God understands this type of emotion. We see it when He was praying with God in the garden before being taken to the cross. His desperate prayers actually produced blood in his sweat.
In God’s great wisdom and understanding of humanity, He has given us a helper for those times when we don’t know what to pray. The Holy Spirit is not a “thing,” He is God. And He prays only the will of God. Remember that interceding piece we learned about Jesus? It’s pretty incredible that the Holy Spirit intercedes as well.
1.) When was the last time you didn’t have words to pray? What did that feel like? How did your prayers change when faced with a struggle you couldn’t handle alone? It may have looked like actual groaning, and that is perfectly ok.
2.) Ask God to show you what it looks like when the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. You may have never “seen” an image from God, and that’s ok. Let’s take time today to ask God to use our imagination to reveal a truth He has for you. Don’t dismiss anything you see in your mind, but rather test what you see. Does it line up with God’s word? Does it bring peace over you? Write down what God shows you. If you aren’t sure it was from God, that’s ok too. We are all learning in the messy.
3.) Thank God for sending the Holy Spirit to pray on our behalf. Just like Jesus, we find comfort in knowing the Holy Spirit is on our side! We are never alone in this journey and God has equipped us with all the spiritual support we need.