Have you considered determining some things to commit to pray for all year? I have written in earlier blogs about committing to long term prayers. Doing this helps us get our spiritual teeth into more consequential matters. This kind of praying excludes the trivial. You will not be tempted at the beginning of a year to pray for a better parking place at the donut shop. You will have to think about, possibly struggle in prayer to determine yearlong prayers. You may even find yourself praying for things that will cause you pain.
I recently heard a sermon by Tim Keller on Romans 8:28. He emphasized the fact that this verse does not promise that the lives of believers will be easier or better than that of those who do not love God. This verse cannot be severed from verse 29 which says God will use hard things to make us like Jesus.
As I looked at the passage I realized that we also cannot separate these verses from verses 26 and 27 which begin by saying we don’t know what to pray for as we ought. I thank God that this verse assures us that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us according to the will of God. He intercedes for me rather than God answering foolish, selfish and sinful prayers I sometimes pray. I am not alone in such foolishness. Elijah prayed for God to take his life. But God interceded by explaining His will to the prophet. In the same way the Holy Spirit brings us into His intercession. As we grow in the Lord we come to understand how He wants us to pray even when what we are to pray for will be difficult or painful. The angel told Ananias that God was going to show Paul how much he would suffer for the name of Jesus.
I am praying for God’s Spirit to show me what He is doing and how I am to pray for His perfecting work in my life. He has already promised that the joy will be worth the sacrifice.