HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT INTERCEDES FOR US!
How many times have you read those words in Romans 8.26-28 and wondered what those “groanings which cannot be uttered” are? And, what are those “infirmities” (weaknesses)?
Here’s another quote from Timothy Keller’s book “Prayer” (pages 72-73):
“According to Paul, however, ‘Abba’ prayer is not the only kind of prayer we are given by the Spirit” (referring to his previous treatment of Romans 8.14-25). “Paul doesn’t speak merely of the Spirit of adoption but also of the Spirit as ‘intercessor’:
Romans 8.26-28: Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And He who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.
“There has been debate over the meaning of ‘the Spirit’s groans.’ Some believe this is the Spirit helping us when we are desperate and groaning, but it is unlikely that this is describing only times of depression.
“Rather, the ‘weakness’ referred to in verse 26 is the weakness described in the preceding verses, which refer not just to times of despondency, but to our entire human situation of frustrated longings as we await the future glory (verses 18-25, especially verse 23).
“We know that God is working out all things for our good according to His will (verse 28), but seldom can we discern what that good actually is.
“In other words, most of the time, we don’t know exactly what outcome we should pray for. The Spirit, however, makes our groaning His groaning, putting His prayers to the Father inside our prayers.
“He does so by placing within us a deep, inexpressible longing to do God’s will and see His glory. This aspiration – this ‘groaning’ desire to please Him – comes through in our petitions to God.
“In every specific request, then, the Father hears us praying for what is both truly best for us, and pleasing to Him, ‘and the intercession of the Spirit is answered as God works all things for our good.’
“The Spirit enables us to long for the future glory of God and His will, even though we don’t know how the specific thing we should pray for here and now.
“Prayer is the way to experience a powerful confidence that God is handling our lives well, that our bad things will turn out for good, our good things cannot be taken from us, and the best things are yet to come.”