Once more the king sent an officer with fifty men. He went up the hill, fell on his knees in front of Elijah, and pleaded, “Man of God, be merciful to me and my men. Spare our lives! The two other officers and their men were killed by fire from heaven; but please be merciful to me!” – 2 Kings 1:13-14 GNT
It is not only a prayer seeking grace, but it is a prayer that is offered up with honour.
There is a way to serve the Lord prayerfully, out of godly character, joyfully in His power and for His glory.
Paul teaches me how to do this well.
Our friends, we must thank God at all times for you. It is right for us to do so, because your faith is growing so much and the love each of you has for the others is becoming greater. That is why we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God. We boast about the way you continue to endure and believe through all the persecutions and sufferings you are experiencing.
All of this proves that God’s judgment is just and as a result you will become worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering. And he will give relief to you who suffer and to us as well. He will do this when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven with his mighty angels. That is why we always pray for you. We ask our God to make you worthy of the life he has called you to live. May he fulfill by his power all your desire for goodness and complete your work of faith. In this way the name of our Lord Jesus will receive glory from you, and you from him, by the grace of our God and of the Lord[a] Jesus Christ. – 2 Thessalonians 1:3-5, 7, 11-12 GNT
This is how Paul models how I should be praying.
- Pray for spiritual growth
- Strength to endure asking God to use this time to reveal how just He is
- For relief of the suffering/hardships/persecution being experienced by myself and other followers of Jesus
- For God to enable me to live a life of divine purpose
- May His power to complete my faith and my desire to accomplish good
- For God to receive glory from every area of my life
- For me to receive grace, honour, and favour from God
Some commentators argue that the groans here are only the groans of the Spirit, not ours. We are, therefore, entirely unaware of them. They arise to God beside our petitions. The Spirit’s intercession, therefore, arises constantly and happens essentially apart from us and our prayers. (Commentators on Romans 8:26–27 who take that view include Douglas J. Moo and Joseph A. Fitzmyer.) Others believe that while it is strictly true grammatically that the groans are the Spirit’s —the point of the promise is that we feel weak and don’t know how to pray and the Spirit helps us in that. After all, God is a “searcher of hearts” (Rom 8:27), and this means God is looking into believer’s hearts. So the groanings of the Spirit are believers’ groanings and longings after conformity to God’s will originating from the Holy Spirit. Commentators such as John Murray, Peter O’Brien, John Stott, and Thomas Schreiner take this latter view. – Timothy Keller