We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
The Bible teaches us many things about the Holy Spirit as a counselor working alongside and within us, convicting us of sin and guiding us to full life in Christ. And in our Romans 8 reading today we learn of a specific way in which the Spirit ministers to us. The Holy Spirit helps us to pray and even prays for us.
In Romans 8, Paul is seeking to encourage his readers in the face of discouragement. Paul urges his readers to keep concentrating on the glory that lies before them in Jesus Christ. Wait and hope, he goes on to say, because the fullness of all that God has promised will come, and that day will be glorious!
As hope helps us to keep going in times of great difficulty, so the Holy Spirit helps us when we pray. When we pray, we don’t always have the words to express what we think or how we feel. In fact, some of our deepest needs and desires can’t even be expressed in words. Paul calls these “wordless groans.” But the Holy Spirit “intercedes”—or, more literally, goes between—on our behalf. He intercedes for us before God. He helps us pray.
Keep hoping and praying. And while you’re hoping and praying, be assured that when you have longings deep in your heart that you can’t even fully express, the Holy Spirit presents your needs directly to God the Father, who hears and answers all our prayers.
Holy Spirit, thank you for interceding on our behalf. Give us hope and help us to pray. We trust you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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