The “Our Father” prayer was taught by Jesus after his disciples had asked him to teach them how to pray. This goes a long way to indicate the necessity of prayer in the life of the believer, but at the same time, also the difficulty of true prayer to the omniscient God by ignorant humans. It indicates that prayer is not a natural operation but rather a collaborating with God in grace. Prayer is not our getting God to give us what we want; it is God getting us to give Him what He wants.
Learn to pray
We need to learn how to pray and to know what to pray. St Paul teaches that one of the duties of the Holy Spirit is to help us in prayer (Cf. Romans 8: 26-27). He implies that unless human beings are assisted by the Holy Spirit, they are unable to know the mind of God in order to be able pray to Him properly.
Throughout the Bible and in the life of the Church, amazing prayers have been addressed to God from the lips of mere humans. The Psalms, the canticle of Mother Mary and Zechariah, are some of outstanding examples. Like the rest of the Bible, they are all attributed to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16).
This message assures us that the Holy Spirit is not just some force or power of God, but a person who works along with the Father and in relation to the Father. We must, likewise, relate with him as a person who thinks about us and has emotions for us, works for us and, indeed, prays for us according to the will of God.
We are encouraged to know that we are not expected to know the will of God in every respect. We may not know whether to trust him to deliver us from sickness or whether to trust him to grant us a happy death, and so on. The Holy Spirit will reveal to us whether our sufferings are worth enduring for Christ or not.
We may consider Jesus during his last hour in Gethsemane. Having prayed that he be spared of the Cross, God deemed it otherwise and Jesus obeyed (John 18:1-8). St Paul asked three times that the thorn in his flesh be removed, but God’s will revealed otherwise. He obeyed it as being salvific (2 Corinthians 12).
We are encouraged to know that there is one who knows and he is praying what we ought to pray and that in our confusion and groaning we are being understood. We are encouraged to know that God’s work for us is not limited to what we can understand and express with words. God is able to do exceedingly above all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). Our thinking, especially in times of stress and complaining, is not the limit of God’s acting.
You are not alone
We are encouraged to know that in our weakness and sickness and loss and hardship and danger the Spirit of God is praying for us and not against us. “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31), confesses St Paul. God does not reject the prayers of his Spirit.
Since the greatest commandment is to love God, we must love the Holy Spirit, because he is God and is our advocate (John 14: 12). We must let our hearts become his temples by rejecting sin (1 Corinthians 6:19).
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts” (Colossians 3:16).