One of my weakest moments came a little over three years ago when I was hospitalized with a mono-like virus. I ran fever for almost a month and slept most days. None of the tests my doctor ran identified the virus or what could have caused the virus, but my doctor was convinced it was likely the effects of stress.
My mom had passed away a year before, and I never dealt with that grief. I tried to get past it by being strong on my own and instead came face-to-face with my weakness. Lying in that hospital bed, there was no doubt I was weak physically and spiritually. I needed help.
I didn’t know what to pray for, and, if I am honest, in that moment I wasn’t sure God heard my cries anyway. I had come to the end of my strength, but God had not left me alone.
By his grace, God reminded me of the helping presence of the Holy Spirit indwelling me.
The Holy Spirit intercedes for us
Paul, in Romans 8:26–30, encourages us that “likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.” The Holy Spirit indwells those who place their faith in Jesus, and he helps us in our weakness. How?
“For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
The Holy Spirit prays for us when we are weak, when we don’t know what to pray for in our moments of weakness. He prays for us with groanings too deep for words. This is the same groaning for redemption Paul tells us all of creation is groaning in verse 22, and the same groaning our bodies groan with in verse 23.
The Spirit cries out for us and through us for redemption, for restoration. The Spirit prays for us when we cannot pray for ourselves.
We are not alone. In our weakness, the Spirit is there to help us, to pray for us and to pray through us so that our greatest need and cry is always coming before our Father. The Spirit helps us by interceding for us.
The Holy Spirit prays for us according to God’s will
This is good news because the Spirit, verse 27 says, prays for us “according to the will of God.” 1 John 5:14–15 tells us, “This is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”
The Spirit prays for us and through us according to the will of God, and we know that he hears, and, when he hears, “we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”
We don’t have to be strong. We don’t have to have it all together.
There are moments, seasons, maybe even decades of our life, when we are weak. In our weakness, we may not know what to pray, or we may even feel as if our requests are not heard, but God is with us. God has given us the Holy Spirit. We can trust the Holy Spirit and his help.
He is interceding for us. He is with us and he is for us.
The Holy Spirit prays, groans, for redemption and redemption will be ours. God will complete his work in us. God will lead us home to glory. God is working all things together to make us into the image of Jesus. In our weakness, when we don’t know what to pray for, the Spirit prays for us and through us according to the will of God, and we can trust this prayer and trust God’s grace and love.
When we are weak, he is strong.
Zac Harrel is pastor of First Baptist Church in Gustine, Texas.