170. Spirit knows our needs.
'We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes ... for the saints in accordance with God's will.' (Romans 8:26-27) Aren't we conscious of our material needs ? Then why is it that the passage says, 'we do not know what we ought to pray for'? ( Probably we don't know how to pray, just as the disciples didn't and asked Jesus to teach them to pray. So it is something that can be resolved by learning to pray the right way! ) However, we can pray only for that which we know is our need and not for that which we do not know is our need, but the Spirit knows our needs and 'intercedes for us in accordance with God's will'. But our perception of lack is not God's perception of lack! Material lack is our definition of need but that is not God's definition of lack! In that case the rich young man should have lacked nothing in God's sight ! But Jesus told him: "One thing you lack. Go sell everything you have and give to the poor and you will have treasures in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Matthew 10:21) Our reasons for lack are many but God finds only one reason for our lack and that is the lack of fellowship with him. Jesus told Martha, "You are worried and upset about many things but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42) Like Martha, we beseech Jesus with our requests but Jesus has only one thing to offer, which fixes everything! "If you knew the gift of God and who is it that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water... Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:10-14) The need for the indwelling and infilling of the Spirit has always been and will be the only need of our hearts. The anointing has everything included in it; 'everything that we need for life and godliness.' ( 2 Peter 1:3) The mission of the Spirit is to prepare the vessel to receive the anointing and it is for this that 'the Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express'. The Spirit intercedes for us 'in accordance with God's will', which he finds when searching the heart of the Father. 'And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit' (Romans 827) and finds him interceding precisely for our needs. Do we feel the hunger for God's word and a thirst for his Spirit? If we do, then the intercession of the Spirit is bearing fruit or else not! Nevertheless, our prayers and petition for material needs do get answered because he loves us but that doesn't necessarily mean that we are doing the Father's will. Jesus assured his disciples that we can petition the Father directly and that he himself would answer our prayers. "In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name ... I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you ..." (John 16:23-27) So why should the Spirit intercede for our material needs? 'The Father knows that we need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given you as well.' (Matthew 6:32-33) Therefore, the Spirit is interceding for God's kingdom and righteousness to be revealed to us and through us. Amen.