“Daddy! A Spider! Get me off of it!”
My four-year-old daughter was panicking as she ran towards me, desperate for me to get her off of the spider. I couldn’t help but laugh at her mix up of words, especially because the spider was really a piece of thread on her arm.
Even though my daughter’s request was poorly worded, there was no confusion on my part as to what she actually wanted. If I were to take her literally, I would have concluded that she was standing on a spider and that I needed to pick her up. Fortunately I am able to interpret toddler language.
Sometimes we might go to God with poorly worded prayers, or perhaps we even ask Him for the wrong thing. There have been times in my life when I prayed for what I wanted, but what I wanted was not what I needed.
I believe that God looks down on us like we look at our toddlers; He knows we are limited in our knowledge and understanding, and therefore we pray for the wrong things. Our intentions are right, but our request comes across like “Get me off of it.”
Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit to help us. Look at Romans 8:26-27:
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
In our human confusion we have a tendency to pray according to our will because we think our will makes perfect sense. In those moments the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf, praying for us according to God’s will.
God might answer our prayers in a way that confuses us at the time, but like a toddler, we have to trust that He knows best.