"The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express."
Debra called me last week frantic. "I don't know what to say! I mean I don't know what to pray for!" Her son had completely disintegrated. He just got out of a five-week-stay hospital stint that almost took his life. He had been sick for years, self-medicating to keep himself sane.
She commiserated, "I prayed for health for my child and that never came." "Then I prayed for a solid job to keep his mind occupied and that went unanswered. I then began praying for the steps I thought he needed to recuperate. I prayed for a car to take him to this new upcoming job, for counseling to help him overcome this latest disaster, and of course for divine intervention because I was at lost for prayers at that point. All of these pleas seem to go unanswered! I don't know what to pray!"
Sometimes we just don't know how to pray in order to pray. These are the times there is just so much going on, that we don't even know where to begin. In fact, we aren't even sure how things have gone so sour. During these times we just need to know who to seek. Paul wrote that the Spirit helps us in our weakness: "The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express."
God knew we'd have those times we we wouldn't know how to plead, so he gave us an intercessor through the Holy Spirit. The Greek word intercede means "to make petition or to plead on behalf of another." Someone who intercedes goes between two parties with the soul objective of imploring on behalf of the represented party. The Holy Spirit takes the unexpressed wishes of our heart and presents them to God in an earnest appeal.
The Spirit can also help us in times of despair and utter exhaustion. Paul wrote, "But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. (Romans 8:25-26) As hope carries us through the suffering seasons of our lives, so the Spirit helps us by praying for our behalf.
The Spirit can also intercede for us when we're confused and don't know how to pray. Should I pray for healing? Should I pray for my son to get a better job? Should I pray for someone to come into his life? Sometimes we just have no idea what someone needs first. This is where the Holy Spirit is a true asset. The Spirit can intercede allowing God to chose the right path.
At this point prayed fervently asking God to send the Holy Spirit to my friend. I also shared the following prayer. In the weeks that followed her son was touched by the Spirit and began a complete renewal.
Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit.
At this moment I am despaired and exhausted.
Please have the Holy Spirit intercede on my behalf.
I am unable to express the desires of my heart.