26 In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
I have the opportunity to pray with the groups of women I meet with regularly, in Bible studies and small groups and a “Moms in Prayer” group I host in my home. I have many books on prayer, and I search them for help in understanding how I can grow my prayer life. I pray throughout the day—sometimes as I’m reading through Scripture, or sometimes as a person or situation comes to mind while I’m driving or doing the dishes.
And yet…I hesitate to write much on prayer, because it remains so mysterious to me. My prayers can be a tangled mess, and there is so much that needs redemption in the world that I don’t often know where to start. I’m so aware of my own limitations when I approach God. But the Bible tells us that the God of all creation—who is omniscient, all-powerful, full of all wisdom, love and grace—hears my weak prayers and answers me. I need that reminder today, and perhaps you do, too.
In our Scripture passage for today, Paul tells us that the Spirit helps us in our weakness as we pray. Praise God for His compassion and grace in our weakness. Not only do we struggle to do what we believe and know is good (Romans 7:15-16), we struggle even to pray! Our hearts and minds continually bend toward ourselves and the things of this life, so our prayers often start with those concerns, fears, and requests. What a comfort to know that we have permission to come to God through Christ Jesus just as we are.
But as we pray, the Spirit also comes alongside us to help, guide, and grow our prayers and our understanding, bringing our thoughts and desires and hopes into line with God’s will. “We do not know what to pray for as we ought,” the Scripture reads, but the Spirit acts on our behalf to align our hearts with God and bring those prayers to the Father. Tim Keller says it this way: “The Spirit enables us to long for the future glory of God and his will, even though we don’t know the specific thing we should pray for here and now.”*
Let these verses bring you confidence today, knowing that as you cry out to God, He will meet with you and bring transformation and peace. Start right where you are and draw near to Him. You can trust Him in all things.
*Keller, Timothy. Prayer. p.73
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Think back to a time when you have experienced God’s mercy during a season of prayer. Whether He responded by meeting your immediate need, or perhaps He used the situation to transform your heart, take a moment to remember His faithfulness and give Him praise. These moments of adoration give Him glory and also firm up our foundation of faith.
- As you read through the Scriptures, look for opportunities to pray over His Word. An example from today’s verses could be, “Father, I thank You for your graciousness and compassion to meet me right where I stand. Help me even to know how I ought to pray. You search every heart and mind, so there’s no thought of mine that is hidden from you. Please take every one of my cares and anxieties and bring peace and healing. Restore my relationship with You and align my heart to Yours. Your ways are so beyond my understanding, yet I ask You in Your mercy to allow my heart to trust You. Amen.
Pray for our global workers as their lives and locations have been disrupted during the pandemic. Many have been living in temporary housing for months, awaiting the opportunity to return. Pray that the gospel has continued to spread in their absence and for renewed relationships when they return.