When you don’t know how to pray


Everywhere, everywhere grace pours down.




In our struggles to pray, here too grace flows, not demanding from us what we cannot give, but giving to us what God demands. For Christian worship is . . . our participation through the Spirit in the Son’s communion with the Father, in his vicarious life of worship and intercession.” (James Torrance)




“. . . God comes to us in Jesus to stand in for us and bring to fulfillment his purposes of worship and communion. Jesus comes to be the Priest of creation to do for us, men and women, what we failed to do, to offer to the Father the worship and the praise we failed to offer, to glorify God by a life of perfect love and obedience. . . . Jesus comes as our brother to be our great High Priest, to carry on his loving heart the joys, the sorrows, the prayers, the conflicts of all his creatures, to reconcile all things to God, and to intercede for all nations as our eternal Mediator and advocate. He comes to stand in for us in the presence of the Father, when in our failure and bewilderment we do not know how to pray as we ought to, or forget to pray altogether. By his Spirit he helps us in our infirmities. . . . 


He calls us that we might be identified with him by the Spirit, not only in his communion with the Father, but also in his great priestly work and ministry of intercession, that our prayers on earth might be the echo of his prayers in heaven. Whatever else our worship is, it is our liturgical amen to the worship of Christ.


This is the ‘wonderful exchange’. . . by which Christ takes what is ours (our broken lives and unworthy prayers), sanctifies them, offers them without spot or wrinkle to the Father, and gives them back to us, that we might ‘feed’ upon him in thanksgiving. He takes our prayers and makes them his prayers, and he makes his prayers our prayers, and we know our prayers are heard ‘for Jesus’ sake’.”

(James B. Torrance, “Worship, Community, and the Triune God of Grace,” p.1-3)