Groaning Too Deep for Words
In the passage we read yesterday, we see the word “groan” or “groaning,” and this groaning is an expression of our desire to be released from our bondage to this world and experience “the redemption of our bodies” and the enjoyment of the world to come, where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Almighty. It is there that our Savior graciously intercedes for us as our Advocate, the one who stands in our place as the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:1-2). Yesterday’s passage even spoke of the groaning of creation which was subjected to the curse because of our sin and also yearns for its own freedom from corruption.
Today we read of someone else who groans, and this on our behalf: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words.” We must confess that we need help when we pray. Even upon telling us explicitly how to pray (Matthew 6:9-13), we still can’t do it right. And this is because our hearts are never right, no matter how close to the Lord we may be at a particular time. Furthermore, we are talking about talking to God; humility should compel us to acknowledge that we need help to pray for matters over which we know not one wit about. And this is where the Holy Spirit makes his appearance. There are many wonderful things that the Spirit does for us, but interceding for us while we pray must be one of the most blessed. The Spirit groans within us putting into words what we never could, according to the will of God. And if our prayers are ever effective, I must believe it is because of the Holy Spirit praying within us here and our Lord Jesus Christ interceding for us there. Our words fall to the ground; God’s words endure forever. So pray with all your might according to the will of God as you understand it through the Scriptures, but be reassured that though you may fail and do fail at this task of prayer, the Holy Spirit who prays within you never will.
Romans 8:28 is a most popular verse. In the context of this passage, it reassures us that through the Spirit’s intercession, we shall only experience the good results of the accomplishment of His will in our lives; that is, that we be conformed to the image of His Son (8:29). This is what happens to those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose; that is, those who have been born again. Having come to know the Lord through rebirth in the Holy Spirit, God’s will for us is our sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3), our dying to self and being conformed to his image.