And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. (NLT)
Sometimes we are at our wit’s end. Sometimes circumstances seem so overwhelming that prayer gets pushed aside. The very time we need to pray most is the same time we are distracted. We don’t have the time, the energy, the wit or wisdom to frame the words that might constitute a prayer. And so we don’t pray.
Which is not only a sad mistake but also a sad misunderstanding of what prayer is. There are many times when we simply can’t put what is on our minds and hearts into words. But that doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t pray. At such times, our prayers become sighs or groans, inarticulate to us but understood by God. His Spirit in us interprets what is going on and presents it to God.
In our human weakness, we can’t always know what to pray. We might be confused. And we may not be able to summons up the energy to get our thoughts together. No matter. We simply silently ask God to make sense of what does not make sense to us. We offer not our words but our silences, not our ordered thoughts but our incomprehensible sighs and groans.
Just because we cannot find the right words does not mean that the right prayer may not be prayed to God. Just because our words fail, it does not mean that prayer fails.