“For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:19).”
Prayer that is potent requires a partnership. Our prayers are not lonely pilgrims journeying up from our closet to heaven but are actually accompanied by powerful divine escorts. Not only is God for us in prayer He assists us in our petitions. Recognizing the great advantage of our prayer partners encourages us to approach the throne of grace boldly and frequently.
Jesus promised to pray the Father to send His disciples a Helper; “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you (John 14:15-17).” Jesus prayed for “ANOTHER Helper,” but the word ANOTHER indicates He is one of the same and not a different kind than Christ. The word HELPER comes from the word “paraklete” indicating He will be called alongside. The Holy Spirit stands by Christ’s disciples forever.
When we go to prayer we don’t need to summon the Holy Spirit from far away to join us because He dwells with us and is already by our side. “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weakness. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27).” The type of help given to us in prayer is akin to that which Martha desired from her sister in the kitchen when she was overwhelmed (Luke 10:40). It is real assistance such as if we were trying to move a sofa or a large log too large for us and the Spirit takes the other side of the burden and lifts it up with us.1 Feeling inadequate in prayer? Don’t worry, the Holy Spirit will give you sufficiency. God has given us the Holy Spirit because we are His children (Romans 8:15-16) who is the one crying out in our hearts; “Abba Father (Galatians 4:6)!” Such truth and aid fuels our desire to pray even though we feel weak for the task.
As if this prayer partner alone were not enough we have yet another divine assistant, Jesus Himself. Years ago, I was asked to take the gospel to an elderly man in Texas by someone I had never met. I parked across the street and before I closed the truck door a middle aged man shot out of them home and brusquely asked what I wanted there. I said, “I was sent by Sissy Thacker.” At that name, a dear relative as it turned out, this man was disarmed and directed me into the home and to his father. Praying in Jesus’ name is sort of like that (John 14:13, 16:23). In A Praying Life, Paul Miller pictured our prayer as a poorly dressed beggar approaching the palace of a great king. The guards stiffen to rebuff your entry but your prayer whispers, “Jesus, I come in the name of Jesus.”2 At that, the sentries bow low and usher you before the throne of the great king. Praying in the name of Christ is not some secret password to sneak prayer through. They do not approach the throne as intruders but as messages bearing the royal seal from a fellow heir to the throne itself (Romans 8:17).
Finally, we serve one another as partners in prayer. Paul was always praying for his fellow Christians (i.e.; Philippians 1:4). He cited the labors of Epaphras in prayer on behalf of the saints in Colossae (Colossians 4:12). And he charged Christians, as a part of their spiritual warfare, to always pray for each other (Ephesians 6:18). Thanks be to God for the powerful partners we’ve been given to assist our prayers.
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16).”
A.T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research p.573, Nashville: Broadman Press, 1934
Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life, p.135, Colorado Springs, 2009