(December 07, 2022) Robert McQuillan shares…
I was warned decades ago when I first attended Friday night church prayer meetings about a ‘longwinded “Mrs XYZ”’ – that ‘She’ll go on and on, praying all around the world about everything and forget to stop and let others pray!’
When we encourage people to pray, Maureen and I point out that we don’t have to pray long prayers. God will hear us, even if it’s only the shortest prayer! He sees our circumstances, knows our concerns. We simply be sincere, ask in Jesus’ name and trust God. Trusting means leaving it with Him, never trying ‘to take it back.’
The Holy Spirit, third person of the Godhead, is our helper, and will bring God’s answer. We tell folk our own prayers are sometimes brief… with our thoughts and spiritual eyes on Him! Merely ‘Help, Holy Spirit’, even ‘Heeeeelp, Holy Spirit.’ Sometimes just a desperate ‘Heeeeelp!’ Now that really rocks their boat!
No, we’re not being irreverent, dishonouring God, misusing Jesus’ name, and belittling the Spirit! Our hope is in our heavenly Father whom we know deeply in our hearts, and that He loves, His spiritual children.
Such a plea is a spiritual S.O.S call! When there isn’t time for a long prayer, that unless God moves quickly, immediately, all will be lost. It’s a little child’s cry from the heart, a ‘Daddy’ wail as it were.
Paul wrote, ‘Because you are His children, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts. He is the Holy Spirit. By His power we call God “Abba.” Abba means Father’ (Romans 8:4NIRV). Complete Jewish Bible reads… ‘Abba that is “Dear Father.”’
Abba is an Aramaic word taught to infants, indicating a deep personal relationship, love, confidence, trust! A personal name, Greek-speaking Jews added patēr – father. Hence Abba-Father.
Get the picture? When we beseech the Spirit to help us, we’re really calling on our heavenly Dad! Mums know babies’ noises calling for help. When fathers hear the shriek of ‘Daddy!’ they know it’s a S.O.S call, that something is wrong and move quickly to help!
Look up how patēr is pronounced… different tonal levels! But an implication that at times it’s a cry from the heart, just like a child’s panicky cry.
God is the Christian’s Father to whom we sometimes cry in desperation! And here God’s Spirit intercedes for us – Romans 8:26CJB: ‘…the Spirit Himself pleads on our behalf with groanings too deep for words.’
I like the Message version even better: ‘If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.’
What an awesome truth behind what I’m getting at here… Romans 8:26 in many translations begins with ‘… the Spirit helps us in our weakness.’ Message Bible gets straight to the truth – ‘God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along.’
Many years ago on my own spiritual journey, the most important revelation I would ever discover hit me: The Holy Spirit is my friend, and I can call Him anytime to come alongside to help me!
Knowing His disciples would soon be lost without Him, Jesus assured His friends that the Father would send ‘another just like Himself’, variously translated advocate, helper, comforter. I love how the NIRV renders John 14:16: ‘… another Friend to help you and to be with you forever.’
Now I love and honour my Father God, and my Saviour, His Son, but many are the times over the decades I have called directly on the third person of the Godhead… my dearest Friend! What comfort He has brought me in desperate situations. I’m thankful that a major attribute to my spiritual journey – and life – has been knowing Him deeply, personal, intimately!
Whenever Bible college lecturing or conferencing about the Spirit, His ministry, motivation, and manifestations, I’ve always encouraged listeners to journey deeper with Him. I’d also mention that the word parakletos is often associated with the one who can move supernationally on our behalf. That this is a combination of para – alongside – and kaleo – to call – which together describe the Holy Spirit as the one we can call alongside!
Isn’t that amazing? Christians can call on the Spirit for assistance! Last week Dr Jim McClure reminded me of this great truth, adding, ‘What an encouragement this is as we face these challenging times.’ So true! I’m now reminding you, dear reader, and add the following example of that simple ‘Heeeelp’ prayer in action…
Back to when I was an international company’s sales and service manager, an impeccably-dressed young man who insisted his shiny black leather shoes had steel heel plates giving me a clickety clack sound as I walked fast paced through stores.
Collecting my car after its service one day, I picked up Maureen and our young kids for a treat, a trip down country to a seaside town where I’d be seeing dealers who sold my company’s products. We had lunchtime fun. Unfortunately, enroute back via a very lonely, mountainous back road overlooking the ocean, the car suddenly stopped dead! No mobiles back then and no passing cars in sight.
Knowing nothing about cars, I did the manly thing… looked under the bonnet! The fan belt had snapped, and I got oil on my hands from fiddling around!
For some crazy reason I felt to search along the road’s oceanside for water to wash up. Telling Maureen, I left her with the kids and toddled off. Aways along that side, I found a little pool in the grass and cleaned up as best I could! Then my eye caught the magnificent view of the ocean and I wanted a closer look.
Foolishly I moved forward, unaware I was stepping onto a slippery rockface, a downward slant to the cliff edge! My steel plated shoes caused me to slip, fall on my back and go sliding fast towards that edge! I just couldn’t stop! Suddenly I saw beyond the edge – I was heading for a long drop into a dangerous inlet far below. I was sliding unstoppable towards my death! Maureen wouldn’t know what had happened, would never find me!
Suddenly I remembered my greatest Friend! ‘Heeeeelp!’ I screamed, that short ‘Help, Daddy!’ cry of desperation! No time for lengthy prayer, Friday night church prayer, Sunday altar call prayer, called the pastor prayer, or long-winded prayer.
Amazingly I suddenly abruptly stopped a mere few inches from the edge, aware of the incredible drop into the bay of rocks in that turbulent water below. I lay still for some time, not daring to move, realising the miracle that had happened thanks to my Friend who had come alongside!
Taking a deep breath, and keeping flat on my back, I inched myself very slowly across that broad stretch of slippery rock, praying all the time until I could get back on my feet on the grass. (Even typing this gives me shivers!).
Shaken, I got back to the car, thinking I must be white-faced, but when Maureen saw my frightened expression, she anxiously asked, ‘What have you been, what happened? Your face is green!’
How else can I put this? Such a desperate cry had reached my heavenly Abba Daddy via the interceding Holy Spirit. No wonder I love to call Him the ‘bless-ed’ Holy Spirit as He’s the one who blesses me! That dark day I encountered a miraculous rescue by my Abba Father! (The car rescue is yet another tale).
I could share other encounters of calling on the Holy Spirit in desperation and experiencing the incredible love of our Abba Father, but I’ll quote Jesus’ own experience in His darkest hour – ‘Abba!’ (that is, “Dear Father!”). All things are possible for you. Take this cup away from me!’ (Mark 14:36CJB). Yes it was a little longer than my brief prayer but in His own moment of agony Jesus knew His Father could work a miracle and rescue Him through the Holy Spirit!
(But of course Jesus willingly yielded to God’s ordained plan to suffer so much and become our Saviour, PTL. No wonder this month Christians worship God for the ‘greatest Christmas gift ever’).
Dear reader, I urge you to develop a relationship with the bless-ed, all powerful Holy Spirit who is within you! Through Him, you can follow and serve Jesus more meaningly… and know God and His incredible Fatherly love!
Paul knew this and wrote: ‘Because you are His children, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts. He is the Holy Spirit. By His power we call God “Abba.” Abba means Father.’ (Galatians 4:6NIRV). And as he reminded the Ephesians, ‘At all times, pray by the power of the Spirit. Pray all kinds of prayers’ (Ephesians 6:18NIRV).
Dr Robert McQuillan’s links: OnlinerConnect@gmail.com and Facebook
Praise the Lord He answered your ‘urgent’ prayer, Robert, all those years ago, and He has continued to bless your ministry today with Maureen and to encourage others through it. To God be the glory!