Richard Dehaan of the Radio Bible Class told of a soldier who was doing sentry duty on the front line in WWI.
After being relieved of duty, as a Christian, he wanted to pray, to thank God for protecting him, and to ask for His continued protection.
But the enemy lines were very close, and he couldn’t go far.
So, he just walked a little ways away from where he had been standing guard, knelt and began to pray aloud.
The sentry who replaced him heard his voice and thought he was speaking to someone in the enemy lines.
So he reported him.
The officer in charge said, “You’ve been accused of revealing secrets to the enemy. How do you respond?”
The soldier said, “It’s not true. I wasn’t doing that.”
The officer replied, “Then what were you doing when you were out there facing the enemy and talking?”
He said, “I was praying.”
“You were praying out loud?”
“Yes, I was.”
The officer said, “Show me. Pray right now.”
So the young man knelt and prayed.
And when he finished the officer dismissed the charges.
“Because,” he said, “nobody can pray like that unless he has been practicing.”
In my series of blogs through Romans 6-8, we have come to Romans 8:26-27:
“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
Since we are not experiencing our new future yet, we desperately need the power of the Holy Spirit to endure when we are suffering, because we are weak.
In vss. 26-27, we see that the Holy Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness as we experience suffering in this life.
During these times we struggle in our prayer life, we do not know how to pray as we should or exactly what we ought to pray about.
In these times we need to trust that the Holy Spirit addresses the Father directly on our behalf.
He prays for us with feelings of deep compassion in our weak suffering state (“with groanings too deep for words”).
We can be confident that His prayers are effective because the Father “knows the mind of the Spirit,” and the Spirit’s requests are “in harmony with the will of God”.
What a wonderful promise this is!
Whatever we go through down here, we do not need to feel alone or frustrated when we don’t know exactly how to pray about it.
We can trust that the compassionate Holy Spirit will pick up the slack and understands our feelings and can articulate them perfectly to the Father.
He knows exactly what we need and the Father will answer according to His will for us.
An older man passed his granddaughter’s room one night and overheard her repeating the alphabet in a very reverent way.
Thinking this to be strange, he asked her what she was doing.
She explained, “I’m saying my prayers, but I can’t think of exactly the right words, so I’m saying all the letters. God will put them together for me, because he knows what I’m thinking.”
Brothers and sisters, this is what God the Spirit does for us when we do not know how to pray as we should!
Pastor Ken Keeler, Director of Church Ministries