Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you! As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you! For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you. Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
Isaiah 64:4 (NIV)
We are waiting here amid darkness and confusion, and all we hear are reports of terrors, and predictions of worse. There are times, increasingly, when we feel we cannot pray, because we simply can’t imagine what to ask God to do, or else we feel we cannot pray to a God who would leave us in such a place.
And yet we haven’t been left. God is with us, Emmanuel—he came on that first Christmas, as we will celebrate in only a few weeks’ time, and he has never left us; soon he will be back in glory. Jesus himself promised, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18)
We needn’t know how to pray. God knows how we feel. As Paul explained, “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (Romans 8:26)