The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. – Romans 8:26-27
22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.
24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it.
25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)
26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.
There are times in life we just don’t know what to say. For some, this can be very frustrating. Being at a loss for words can really pull some people down. Writers often get writer’s block. When we are surprised or shocked, knowing what to say is quite common.
But what about being at a loss for words when it comes to prayer. We are unable to express our deepest longings and desires for ourselves or on the behalf of others.
The Father knows us through and through and is prepared to deal with this exact eventuality despite our limitations. Because of our limitations, He enables us to overcome them.
When we do not know what to say in prayer, the Father always does. Paul the apostle encourages us to pray whether we have it all worked out or not. Rather than basing our prayers on our preparation or feelings, the Father has a more excellent way. He has prepared a remarkable provision to make it happen. The Holy Spirit simply takes over and prays on our behalf.
Romans 8:26 The Spirit helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
What we cannot say, what we cannot put into words, the Holy Spirit does it for us. When it comes to prayer, the Holy Spirit always has our backs. He helps us when we are weakest when we do not know what we ought to pray. Putting it in other terms the Holy Spirit, speaks through us to the Father on our behalf.
The Holy Spirit does not merely pray for us and through us, He prays specifically for Father’s will to be done. We may not know exactly how to pray, because we don’t always know what the will of the Father is. But the Holy Spirit always does. He intercedes according to the Father’s will.
Take a moment to contemplate this. How remarkable is this? We have direct access to someone who knows everything all the time. He always knows the Father’s will. And He is highly incentivized to see it done on earth as it is in heaven.
“Our failure to know God’s will and consequent inability to petition God specifically and assuredly is met by God’s Spirit, who himself expresses to God those intercessory petitions that perfectly match the will of God. When we do not know what to pray for – yes, even when we pray for things that are not best for us – we need not despair, for we can depend on the Spirit’s ministry of perfect intercession ‘on our behalf’” (Moo).
We can only imagine how the Holy Spirit works this out. When we feel weak in our prayers, the Holy Spirit is strong in our place.
“The Holy Spirit does not give armchair advice. He rolls up his sleeves and helps us bear our weakness. That is real help” (Hughes).
REFLECT & PRAY
“Prayer is the divine in us appealing to the Divine above us” (C. H. Dodd).
Father thank You for knowing me so well, that You can express my deepest longings, which I cannot express myself. When my prayers are weak the Holy Spirit is strong in my stead. The Holy Spirit prays to You on my behalf
“‘Groans’ is the noun form of the verb used in Romans 8:22–23. It refers to the nonverbal vocalizing of deep inward feelings, as in a sigh or groans” (Cottrell).
“In Romans 8:26, groanings are prayers to the Father expressed inarticulately (Zodhiates). The Greek word translated groanings is stenagmos, a noun derived from the Greek verb stenazo, to groan or sigh. It is an involuntary expression of great concern or stress, sigh, groan, groaning (BDAG).
“God is concerned about the trials of His people . . .. Today the Holy Spirit groans with us and feels the burdens of our weaknesses and suffering. But the Spirit does more than groan. He prays for us in His groaning so that we might be led into the will of God. We do not always know God’s will. We do not always know how to pray, but the Spirit intercedes so that we might live in the will of God in spite of suffering. The Spirit ‘shares the burden’” (Wiersbe).
“Paul is saying that, because of our weakness, we do not know what to pray for, but the prayers we ought to offer are offered for us by the Holy Spirit” (Barclay).