When I was five years old, I prayed every day that God would help everyone in the world to get saved. I remember people sadly telling me, “Not everyone in the world is going to be saved, Esther.” I said, “God can do anything,” but as I grew older I started asking for most people to be saved, and then it trickled down into the unsaved people I know. I stopped praying that God would save everyone in the world because it just wasn’t going to happen.
What I now know is that the point wasn’t the words I prayed, the requests I prayed for, or the likeliness of my request being answered in the way I asked. The point was that my God was capable of carrying out what I asked, whether He chose to do it or not. The little five-year-old mind wasn’t caring about whether or not God would do it, but just rejoicing that God could do it.
Now I find myself feeling like my words when I pray are too weak, too powerless, too small to make much of a difference. Just like when I was five, I still feel like I get my words wrong, I still feel like they’re insufficient.
But that’s not the point either. The point still does not lie in the gravity of the words I pray, the extent of my spiritual vocabulary, or the number of God’s promises that I can recite in one prayer. The point isn’t how I’m praying, but the One I’m talking to. It’s not about my words, or how sufficient I feel. It’s about God.
There’s a reason for Romans 8:26. Yes, and amen, we don’t know how to pray as we ought, but that’s not the point of the verse. The point is that the Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words when we can’t pray like we should. 2 Corinthians 3:5 says it perfectly:
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.
Praise God that He isn’t limited by our insufficiency! He doesn’t need an eloquent prayer to perform an excellent deed. All Peter cried out was, “Lord, save me!” and the hand of Jesus reached down and lifted him from the waves.
Too often I allow my focus to be on myself and how great or small my words are and the weight they carry and the way that I pray. But it’s not about the words or how sufficient I feel. It’s about God.
God can do more than I can imagine. So what if my prayer doesn’t feel strong? It’s coming from a passing vapor, from a bit of dust. But God is the one who hears them, and that’s the point. He is strong, He is in control. That’s all that matters. Because prayer isn’t about me — it’s about God.