I see children reach up their hands to their mothers, eager to get their attention. It reminds me of my own efforts to reach up to God in prayer.

The early church stated that the work of the aged is to love and to pray. Of the two, I find love to be the most difficult, and prayer to be the most confusing. My infirmity lies in not knowing the exact thing for which I ought to pray. Should I pray that others will be delivered from their troubles—or that their troubles will go away? Or should I pray for courage to carry on through the difficulties that belabor them?

I’m comforted by Paul’s words: “The Spirit also helps in our weaknesses” (Rom. 8:26). Here the apostle uses a verb that means, “to help by joining in an activity or effort.” God’s Spirit is joined to ours when we pray. He intercedes for us “with groanings which cannot be uttered.” He is touched by our troubles; He sighs often as He prays. He cares for us deeply—more than we care for ourselves. Furthermore, He prays “according to the will of God” (v.27). He knows the right words to say.

Therefore, I needn’t worry about getting my request exactly right. I need only to hunger for God and to reach up, knowing that He cares.