In this passage, the apostle Paul teaches about the Spirit and prayer, recognizing that people who believe in God don’t often know how to pray. And there are times the words don’t come when we do pray, but maybe only in groans.
I remember sitting with my aunt on one of her last days. I said, “I’m going to pray.” My aunt could barely speak for pain, but what was clear at the end of the prayer was her response. Her lips moved in the word, “Amen.” We were together in that prayer and I knew, too, that the Spirit would carry her deepest needs to God.
Paul reassures us in this text that the act of coming to God in prayer is more important than what we actually say. Indeed, the words may not come at all in trying situations, whether it’s due to ill health or other deep distress. It’s comforting to know that the Spirit is acting on our behalf for our good even when we don’t know how the prayer will be answered.
Gracious and loving God, we pray that when we set our hearts to prayer but cannot put those deepest needs into words, that the Spirit will relay them to you. We thank you for that. Amen. — CRW