S24P4 – The work of the Spirit: intercession

Romans 8:26
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Some people claim that life does not come with a book of instructions. I believe, however, that it does. The holy scriptures provide our instructions for life. That does not mean that we always know what to do or what to pray. More times than not, I have found this to be the case when the matter at hand pertains to myself. It is almost as if I can see more clearly what someone else might need in any given circumstance. But as for me, I regularly seek God concerning whether what I ask for myself is the right thing or coming from the right motivation. When we know that we need to pray but do not know what we should pray, the Holy Spirit takes on another of his roles and intercedes for us. This should give us a measure of confidence whenever we seek God’s help for ourselves and for others.

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time before judges making requests on behalf of clients. You learn in legal practice that whatever you ask of the court must be clear and precise. One cannot simply state a request for relief without naming the specific relief and the grounds on which that relief is merited. For example, you cannot take someone to court and ask the judge for whatever relief he or she thinks you should be entitled to. What you must do is ask the judge for a specific kind of relief, and then the judge determines whether you should receive that specific relief. God does not work this way. Yes, He can answer specific prayers that we have. But he does not hold back his help or his mercy or his grace or his love simply because we do not know what we should pray for. We can ask God for relief even when we have no idea what that relief should be. The Holy Spirit can make that specific request for us. Who better to know what we truly need than God himself?

This scripture tells us that we ought to know what to pray for. There is an expectation that we grow through the sanctification process and begin to learn the good and perfect will of God. That is no overnight process, and for that there is grace. This is why the Holy Spirit willingly intercedes for us when we do not know how to intercede ourselves. It is the mercy of God that causes him to pray on our behalf for what we need because we simply have not gotten to that point in our spiritual walk yet. And this weakness of not knowing the good and perfect will of God allows the Holy Spirit to do this mighty work. Of course, the goal is still to reach the point at which we know what to pray when it is time to pray. Father, thank You that your very own Spirit intercedes for us when we do not know the words to pray, but we ask that You continue to sanctify us so that we reach the point at which we know your good and perfect will and can pray accordingly.