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The Holy Spirit’s intercession

The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

Paul from the text, states as a matter of fact that the Holy Spirit intercedes for believers. He describes the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.” The Christian is pictured here as a part of fallen creation. God knows that one of our weaknesses is in our prayer lives. All too often, “we do not know what [or how] we ought to pray.” At that point, Paul proclaims, we can be assured that the Holy Spirit steps in. His point is that believers can pray desiring God’s will, but in weakness not know what the Spirit’s perfect knowledge on how to perceive God’s best, His will. Paul faced this himself when he prayed to gain sufficiency, asking God to remove “a thorn in the flesh.” It is some problem, a thorn discomforting him (see 2 Cor. 12:7–9). The form in which he prayed to get what he sought was not what God thought best for him. God gave him the essence, what he longed to have, but in a different form. God answered not by removing the problem but God’s sufficiency though the trial remained. “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). The Spirit knew what God’s will was for Paul better than he knew about his own weakness. Paul is assuring the Christian who is discouraged with the quality of his or her prayers that God’s own Spirit is involved in the process of praying. God understands better than we regarding what we want to ask, “The Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” The Spirit intercedes for us in accordance with God’s will. When praying becomes difficult for us, the Holy Spirit is able to state them even better than we could. This does not lessen the importance of prayer; it merely indicates that the effect of prayer does not rest entirely on our ability to state things well. Praise the Lord for that!


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