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)
So many of us deal so much with words. We assume that supporting suffering people requires words. We assume that silences between friends are awkward and so words are inserted. We assume sharing our faith must be primarily verbal. We assume our prayers to God must be put into words.
And of course words are necessary in so many situations. But not all situations. Our text focusses on those times when words run out as we bring our life situation to God. We feel as if we need to spell out our circumstances in order to enlighten our Father. We figure that we must get the form of words right otherwise our prayers may be rejected.
Which is nonsense. Our God can interpret our silences through the presence of the Holy Spirit. He can understand our sighs and groans. We don’t have to find the words in order to get through to him. We can pray with our unspoken, jumbled thoughts. We can pray while not being sure of what we are praying for. What a relief!
And what a comfort to know that those who through illness or sheer age cannot put words together are still loved and understood by the Father. How good to know God’s capacity to hear us does not depend on our capacity to speak. When words fail, prayers do not.