Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26
Are you like me? Often, I am at a loss to find the words to pray, overwhelmed by needs, and struggling in anguish when I pray. I feel helpless and hopeless at what to do or say. What if that is exactly the place God wants me, and he gives the Holy Spirit freedom to intercede? Recently I read a book by spiritual formation leader Ruth Haley Barton, Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence. She was told by her spiritual director, “Ruth, you are like a jar of river water all shaken up. What you need is to sit still long enough that the sediment can settle and the water can become clear.” I find myself like the jar of river water, always in a torrent of trying to fix things, control outcomes, and worry.
Prayer is simply talking to God, pouring out our feelings and our worries. It is crying out to him with our fears and in our pain. When we don’t know what else to say, that’s when we need to be like the jar and just be still. Give up any agenda, achieving, control. The waters of your soul become clear when stillness comes to the movement in the jar of your life. If you are still long enough to let the swirling sediments settle, you can see what the Holy Spirit wants you to see. When you are still, you are allowing the Holy Spirit to show up in unexpected ways, and lead you in wordless, inexplicable prayers. This clarity in the soul brings the hope of peace you long for and a deeper experience of God.
Prayer is profound. It is a mystery. The Holy Spirit comes to us in our weakness, when we choose to acknowledge our human frailty. The comforter comes when we choose to sit still long enough to let the water calm and bring clarity. The encourager holding us up out of the dirt in the bottom of the jar gives us hope and peace. We are transformed as we experience the clear, calm and clean water. Today take some time to be still, physically sit, and focus on letting the noise, people, and activity settle down. Take the time to see what the Holy Spirit wants to show you when the waters clear. Take the time to listen to what the Holy Spirit has to say to you in the calm.
By Donna Burns