When You Don’t Know What to Pray: Seek Holiness


God has a bigger plan than your personal happiness in the given moment. He desires holiness as you are conformed into the image of Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:26-27 tells us, “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.”

What is God’s will?

We as humans are always in interested in the here and now, what will benefit us temporarily.

God, however, sees things a bit differently. He is also interested in the “bye and bye” and the eternal.

In other words, God has a bigger plan than my personal happiness in the given moment. He desires my holiness as I am conformed into the image of Jesus Christ.

First things first

It is interesting that following Romans 8:27 is Romans 8:28. I often say, “People don’t read what follows Romans 8:28.”

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Right after that, Romans 8:29 tells us, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

We need to read Romans 8:26-29 to get the whole picture!

Let’s put this all together, because this is showing the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Allow me a very loose paraphrase/interpretation.

There are times when we are overwhelmed with the way life is going. We are so distressed that we don’t even know how to pray, so we just sigh or groan. But the Holy Spirit takes these groans and sighs and turns them to prayers to the Father.

No matter what is happening, God is going to take your present circumstances and bring good out of bad. But His ultimate goal is to take all that happens, the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, and make us more like Jesus. Because that is the objective and endgame for every believer.

One other thing

I have found that happiness does not come from seeking it, but from seeking God. If you dedicate your life to being happy, it’s doubtful you ever will be.

But if you focus instead on being holy, on being the person God has called you to be, you will find personal happiness as a byproduct of having your priorities in order.

When we get to heaven one day, all of this will make sense!

Randy Alcorn, in his book Heaven, writes, “Seeing God will be like seeing everything else for the first time. Why? Because not only will we see God, He will be the lens through which we see everything else–people, ourselves, and the events of this life.”

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