In the same way, 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 NIV
Paul started this extended passage expressing how the creation groans as it waits for deliverance from it’s bondage to decay. He follows that with the groaning of believers as we wait for the redemption of our bodies. And here, for a third time, Paul mentions groaning; this time the groaning of the Holy Spirit on our behalf.
The groanings of creation and believer are expressing a longing for their own deliverance. But unlike the first two occurrences, the Holy Spirit is not groaning for himself. Rather his groaning is a part of his intercessory activity on our behalf. In my weakness, I do not even know how I should pray. But the Spirit does. And he does so in accordance with God’s will.
Am I aware of the Spirit’s intercession on my behalf? I suspect not. His groaning on my behalf is alalētos: wordless, inexpressible, unspeakable. But his wordless intercession on my part is effective. God knows the mind of the Spirit and is able to respond appropriately.
I express my heart and mind in words that are so often inadequate to express my thoughts. But I do not have to worry about the inadequacy of my words. The Holy Spirit is bringing my petitions to the Father in a very adequate fashion. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, the sufficiency of my prayer is not dependent on my own limited expression.
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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4 thoughts on “The Wordless Groaning of the Holy Spirit – Romans 8:26-27”
The groaning of the Holy Spirit can be felt in the believer as groaning in our hearts in one with Christ. It is not as if the Holy Spirit is apart from us groaning by Himself, but God is in us praying through us in perfect accordance with our Fathers will and this is painful and felt in one who loves Christ……inseparable!
The Holy Spirit knows us better than we do ourselves. Who better to pray for us than him.
Yes, In learning by heart Romans 8, and pouring over His word and praying for God’s enlightenment….I agree with you wholeheartedly…and find James 4 comparable to the our lack of success in our prayers… However Paul in Philippians 1 prays for the church that our love may abound in real knowledge and all discernment that we may prove ourselves to been sincere and blameless on the day of Christ. In essence he prays for the enlargement of our love (that it may abound) He prays for the education of our love (in real knowledge). And he prays for the expressing of our love (in all discernment) . I believe the Holy Spirit is pleased with that kind of prayer…
Well said, thanks.