"And 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." Romans 8:26
How - Not quite right. This translation in the NASB isn't quite what Paul is saying. Your English Bible may have the same translation, or you might be using a version that says, "we do not know what to pray." That is the real sense here. The tiny Greek particle tis means what, who or which, not how. You remember that how is pos (see September 27). Paul is saying that we don't know the mind of God as we should and for that reason we are unable to pray according to God's purposes. We just don't know what we should pray for. Our horizon is far too limited to see the real picture of God's intentions. We are too focused on our needs that we believe must be met. But if there is anything to learn from Scripture, it is this: God's ways are not our ways.
Now the first part of this verse is clear. We need the help of the Spirit because the Spirit certainly knows the Father's will. If we are going to participate in "Your will be done on earth", we will need to have a perspective that comes from above. The Spirit rushes to our aid, standing face to face, lifting our weak attempts to express our desires for the Father's purposes. God knows we need this help because we have a finite perspective.
How many times have you come to God in prayer, your heart burdened by some pressing issue, and discovered that you really do not know what to pray? Should you pray for God to move in this way or that? Should you pray for what seems the right way from your perspective or have you missed something God has been trying to show you? Peter tells us that the prayers of the righteous are highly effective. There is no doubt that God hears His children and answers them. But what is the right thing to pray for when there are many different possibilities? This is the realm of the Spirit. We need God's point of view and just as we fail in our limited abilities, in He comes, interceding for us. How incredible is the care of God! Not only does He rescue us from the living death of our sinful past, He actually prays with and for us. God never waits for us to placate Him before He acts. He is there before we even know it, speaking heavenly thoughts that we cannot utter.
(this verse is continued tomorrow)
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inspirational devotions by Skip Moen.
"Today's Word" devotional, from Skip Moen . © 2003 is used by permission. All rights reserved.
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