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When the Holy Spirit Groans in Prayer

 The indwelling Spirit of God works in us in pray to cry out “Abba,” “Father, Daddy.” He helps us to endure sufferings so that we may patiently look forward to the final redemption of our bodies when we will see Jesus “with glory that is burst upon us” at His coming.

We are commanded in the Scriptures to “pray continually” (1 Thess. 5:17). When we pray we are petitioning the sovereign Creator of the universe and speaking to Him personally as we present our adoration, confessions, thanksgivings, and supplications to Him. He patiently listens to us and responds to us consistently out of His infinite wisdom.

Since that is true why is it so hard to pray? Why is prayer a problem even for mature Christians? The apostle Paul says it is because of “our weakness.” Phillips translates Romans 8:26, “The Spirit of God not only maintains this hope within us, but helps us in our present limitations.” The wonderful thing is His intercessions for the saints are always in harmony with God’s will. He comes to our aid in our infirmities.

Paul does not say the Holy Spirit removes our “weaknesses,” but that He “helps” us. We live our whole Christian life in conditions of humility and weaknesses. The Holy Spirit comes along side as our Helper and gives us wisdom and strength. He helps those who cannot help themselves.

What is the problem? We do not know what we should ask God. What is His sovereign will for us, our family, our ministry, etc.? We often do not know what we need, nor do we know what is best for us.

Every Christian experiences these weaknesses and it is this that makes prayer difficult. Have you not experienced on numerous occasions how difficult it is to stop and pray in your busy schedule, and then when you are in His presence in prayer it is so sweet and wonderful you do not want to stop? Your spirit refuses to leave the sacred place. The Holy Spirit helps us in the weaknesses. He “intercedes” for us with groans that words cannot express” (v. 26). The all-powerful Holy Spirit is our Helper. He comes to our aid for access to the Father (Eph. 2:18).

The apostle Paul uses the word sunantilambanetai that denotes a person coming alongside another to take part of a heavy load to help him bear it.

Jesus had the same idea in mind when He called the Holy Spirit Parakletos, “one who is called alongside of another” to help in time of need. The Holy Spirit comes along side to help us in our weakness. How hopeless we are, yet He bears our burdens. The emphasis Paul is making is this is a divine work, not half-divine and half-human.

We do not know what to pray for in the midst of our suffering the heavy load so He gets up under it with us and bears it along. He identifies with us in our weakness.

We do not know how or what to pray for in those difficult moments of suffering, but He does because He knows us intimately and He knows perfectly the will of God, and our weaknesses. Prayer covers every aspect of our need, and our weakness is made clear by our not knowing what to pray for now. We so often do not have the whole picture. We see only the hurt, pain, suffering, etc. The Holy Spirit comes to our help and makes intercession.

In fact, we have two divine intercessors: Jesus Christ is at the right hand of the Father in heaven interceding on our behalf (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 1 Jn. 2:1), and the Holy Spirit in our hearts is also interceding (Jn. 14:16, 17). The Holy Spirit intercedes with groanings which cannot be uttered that ascend to the throne of grace.

The Spirit Himself “intercedes,” pleads on our behalf. It is a beautiful word picturing the rescue by someone who “happens on” a person who is in trouble and “in his behalf” pleads with “sighs that baffle words.”

God the Father searches the heart (v. 27; 1 Chron. 28:9; Ps. 139:1, 23; Jer. 17:10; 1 Cor. 4:5; Heb. 4:13). The mind of the Spirit Himself makes interpretation for the saints according to the will of God. The person who makes the intercession is a member of the Trinity. We do not know what the will of God is, but He does.

What are these “groanings”? These inarticulate groans do not escape the omniscient ears of God. They are perfectly intelligent to Him and always according to His perfect will. They are initiated by the Holy Spirit and borne to the presence of the Father. Because they are the intercessions of  the Holy Spirit, they are acceptable to the Father.

The God “who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit” and answers according to God’s will. Since His way is perfect we are always assured of His very best for us. “We do not know what we ought to pray for,” but the Holy Spirit always knows, and God the Father will always answer His prayer. 

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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