Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought. —Romans 8:26
The spiritual quality of a prayer is determined not by its intensity but by its origin. In evaluating prayer we should inquire who is doing the praying—our determined hearts or the Holy Spirit? If the prayer originates with the Holy Spirit, then the wrestling can be beautiful and wonderful; but if we are the victims of our own overheated desires, our praying can be as carnal as any other act.
Two examples are given in the Old Testament, Jacob and the prophets of Baal. Jacob’s wrestling was a real exercise, and at first it was not Jacob’s doing….The wrestling [became] of divine origin, and the blessed results are known to every Bible student.
The other example does not turn out so well. The prophets of Baal wrestled also, much more violently than Jacob, but they wrestled in the flesh. Their writhings were born of ignorance and superstition and got them nowhere….They were wrong in spite of their zealous praying….Only the Spirit can pray effectively. TWP016-017
This is the spirit of prayer—sincere, humble, believing, submissive. Other prayer than this the Bible does not require—God will not accept. DTC155