26 In the same way, the Spirit comes to help our weakness. We don’t know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans.
Paul got it absolutely right, we are spiritually weak and we don’t know what we should pray! Jesus’ disciples knew it too, and they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, so Jesus taught them the Lord’s Prayer, which we continue to pray every day. Prayer is a spiritual muscle, if we don’t exercise it, it won’t get strong enough to support us when we need to use it.
But there are times when our ability to pray abandons us. When life hits us with major events that leave us reeling from shock and grief, or life blows up all our plans and we’re left feeling lost and the burden too heavy to carry, then we turn to God in prayer. Sometimes we can pray short desperate prayers of “Help me!” Sometimes we can’t pray, we have no words, because the pain and anguish we feel is beyond words. That’s when the Holy Spirit joins with us to commune with God on our behalf.
When Paul says the Spirit comes to help us in our weakness, he means the Spirit comes to us to help share our burden, so we no longer have to carry all the weight by ourselves. The Holy Spirit reveals God’s love for us right where we are and brings us comfort in the midst of our pain. When we have no words, and can’t speak to God, the Spirit then pleads our case for us with unspoken groaning, with the divine eloquence of redeeming grace.
There are also everyday times of prayer, not of crisis, but times of meditation and listening when we fully open our hearts to God. These are times when no words are needed. We’re lost in God’s love and we’re beyond words. At these times the Spirit is at work illuminating our minds through the word, opening our hearts to receive and enabling our souls to respond to God’s all encompassing and redeeming grace. The indwelling Holy Spirit is at work within us to align our will with God’s plan for us, helping us to conform our lives to the example of Jesus for the redemption of the world.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Are you in a place in your life where you can’t pray or haven’t the words to talk to God? Today, in prayer, ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate your mind, open your heart to receive God’s forgiveness and love and enable you to feel God’s all encompassing and redeeming grace. Allow the Holy Spirit to share your burden, and find peace, beyond words.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, we are spiritually weak and we don’t know how to pray. Thank you for pleading our case when we have no words. Guide us, reveal God’s love and forgiveness in our lives and be with us, comforting us and sharing our burden. Amen.