We should take pains to make our prayers as scriptural and effective as we can — but thankfully, God’s word tells us that their efficacy does not rest with us. Romans 8:26 says: “We do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
Jesus’ disciples asked Him to instruct them on the art of praying, and He responded by giving them the Model Prayer. We should give appropriate, serious attention to employing its principles in our prayers. The New Testament contains a number of other instructions on prayer as well, and we should give each of them their due devotion. But we should also be comforted by this word from Romans 8. At our best, with all the teaching available, still “we do not know how to pray as we should.” But fear not: we have the ultimate Helper: “The Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Verse 27 then says “He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
The picture here is of God’s Holy Spirit taking our very imperfect prayers, and “translating” them into something more acceptable. He takes what is heartfelt from us — if not adequate or accurate — and channels it in the right direction. It should be very comforting to us: we don’t always have to have the “right” thing to say to God. You may not know how to pray as you should — but you have a Helper who does!