“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
Romans 8:26-27 KJV
A spiritual discipline that is essential to the vitality of the Christian life is the discipline of prayer! Much prayer; much power! Little prayer; little power! No prayer; no power! However, there are many Christians who are hesitant in prayer because they erroneously think that the effectiveness of their prayers is tied to their eloquence or command of the English language. But Jesus’ instruction to his followers in Matthew 6:7 was this, he said: “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Real prayer is not a matter of words! Paul stated some very interesting concepts about prayer in Romans 8:26-27. First of all, Paul said that we do not know what we should pray for! The reason for this is because real prayer is petitioning and communicating with God according to the will of God. And because of our human limitations, we can never fully know the will of God! But the Holy Spirit helps us in this regard because the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of God, fully knows the mind of God because the Holy Spirit is God! Therefore, the Spirit intercedes for us with groanings that cannot be uttered!
Now this is the main point I want to communicate in this post! The Bible says the Holy Spirit searches the hearts and knows the mind of God and intercedes for us according to the will of God! Therefore, when we pray, God is listening to our hearts and not merely our words! Have you ever been in a position wherein you wanted to express something, but it seem like there were no words to adequately express what you were feeling or thinking? You knew in your heart, but your mouth could not express it! Well, that’s similar to what happens in earnest prayer! There are no words to adequately express the content, longings, and desires of the heart!
Now, some have taken this passage as an allusion to speaking in tongues, or what many refer to as praying in the Spirit, but the text says, first of all that it is the Spirit that makes the intercessions; not us! Secondly, the Spirit makes the intercession with groanings that cannot be spoken! So when we pray, the Spirit takes the longings and desires of our hearts that constitute our prayers and filter those longings and desires through the strainer of God’s will! So, in the final analysis, real prayer is an expression of the heart and spirit rather than the mouth and the mind! Of course, we should strive to bring what we verbally pray in line with the desires and expressions in our hearts, but in the meantime; thank God for the intercessory aid and translating power of the Holy Spirit! For when we don’t know how to pray as we ought, the Spirit of God knows the language of prayer which cannot be formulated with spoken human words! The language of prayer is the deep inexpressible desires and longings of the heart! So, when you pray and you struggle to find the words to say, don’t worry about it: God still hears and understands!