Read Romans 8:26-27
26 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. 27 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)
This text reminds us that getting through to God is not dependent on our power of reasoning or speech. Prayer doesn’t fail just because our words fail. God is not some stern examiner demanding we get our thoughts and theology in order before he gives us a hearing.
Perhaps we can legitimately expand the meaning of this text,though,to include those who suffer varying degrees of mental or physical disability. How profoundly sad and wrong to conclude God can’t get through to these people or that they can’t get through to God. As if God gives up on us when we decline into dementia. As if God turns his back on a child whose brain was damaged at birth. As if God gets impatient with a stroke victim because the power of speech has gone.
This is not our God. His relationship with us is not dependent on our faculties but on his grace. May we not suggest that those lacking such faculties still can locate his grace in some way hidden from us but revealed to them? The inarticulate groans and sighs and gestures may yet have meaning to God. Some private language is at work,some private intimacy is being enjoyed.
Otherwise,we are left with the conclusion that our God is there for just the fit and healthy. Which is utterly contradictory to the biblical picture which sees God as particularly close to the poor and needy. So we need not despair that those who can’t express their love of God in words are not recipients of God’s timeless,wordless love.