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The African Church Father Augustine was not always so spiritual. Even though he had a godly mother, he left home early and pursued a life of wine, women, and song. His mother Monica pleaded with God to change her son. After years of faithful praying, God acted on her prayers. Augustine surrendered to Christ and later became a gifted scholar and leader in the early church. God invites us to intercede for others as Monica prayed for her son. To help us in our praying, God has given to believers the gift of the Holy Spirit. We read in Romans 8 that the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses — including our weakness in prayer. To be sure, our weaknesses are many — physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. The Spirit helps us to deal with all these issues. He helps as we pray and depend upon Him for wisdom and strength. We do not always know how we ought to pray. So Paul tells us that the Spirit prays for us with groans that we cannot express ourselves. He takes our vague, formless groans and transforms them into sighs that God the Father understands. He pleads for us in harmony with God’s own will. The Father, who knows every heart, knows what the Spirit is saying; and the Father responds according to His own purpose for us. Many people and situations are in need of God’s intervention today. Let us use our gift of intercessory prayer to make a difference.

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