Investigative Prayer

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When we arrived home from Asia, I was surprised to find how many media hours devoted themselves to “groundbreaking storytelling.” What began with only “60 Minutes” exploded into crime shows and fraud exposure on every channel. What the news media caught onto is something that God Spirit has been involved in for centuries.

I first stumbled across spiritual sleuth reporting in Romans 8:27: “He Who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

“He Who searches the heart.” This phrase jumped off the page. I found that eraunaō, the Greek word for ‘searches’ is just this type investigative seeking. Just as investigative journalism seeks to expose the cover-ups and spur change, the Holy Spirit investigates our hearts to find truth. 

Of course, there are two parties here. Our minds and that of the Holy Spirit. Since He already knows the mind of His Spirit, His search is into my mind. But how does He conduct this investigative research? 

He “knows” what is there. This second Greek word, ’know’ (eidō) means both “to see and to have a visiting interview with.” Our Resident Investigative Reporter invites a sit-down with us to look over the facts. 

Yet unlike popular “smear reporting,” the Holy Spirit is looking for the good not the evil. He seeks to uncover any inclination or purpose within us that aligns with the will of God. When He “chances upon” (‘intercedes,’ see Strongs G1793) a place where our desires overlap with His, He is ready to write a new story filled with transformation and hope. 

We’re always a bit hesitant to let go of the fleshly within us, so we “do not know how to pray as we should” (Romans 8:26). The pull of the past is strong, so trying harder and praying longer isn’t necessarily the key. What will work, however, is arranging a willing interview with His Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s research is the only painstaking solution for untangling truth from deceit. A simple prayer reveals my willingness to be made willing.

“Father, I know Your Spirit knows best. You have searched within me and know the places of purity and the places where I still cling to old thinking. Come change my viewpoint to see things from Your perspective. I’m willing to be made willing.”

Standing in the light of His investigation means He is looking for Jesus within us. The spotlight highlights His righteousness, not our fleshliness. Once we see how He views the circumstance under investigation, we readily recognize our part as junior-partner, not defendant.  Even though His ways are often not ours (Isaiah 55:8-9), we may be assured that loving those Ways will always work together for our good (Romans 8:28). That is where we have power in prayer.

“And he that searcheth (eraunaō -to seek, i.e. (figuratively) to investigate) the hearts knoweth (eidō – to see i.e. have an interview with, to visit) what is the mind – (phronēma – mental) inclination or purpose)—of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession (entygchanō – to chance upon, i.e. (by implication) confer with; by extension to entreat (in favor or against):—deal with, make intercession)  for the saints according to the will of God”. Romans 8:27