24th April 2019

In Our Weakness

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.”
Romans 8:26 (NRSV)

Over the years, I have been greatly encouraged by Paul’s words on how the Spirit intercedes in our lives. Even recently, as I desired to pray about the very serious circumstances of a fellow Christian, I found myself stumped. Part of the problem was brought on by themselves; some of it was brought on by circumstances, and the rest by the involvement of others. Just what should I pray?

J.B Phillips’ version of the New Testament translates Paul’s words in Romans 8:26 as: “his Spirit within us is actually praying for us in those agonised longings that cannot express words.” So, at such times I give up trying to find the right words or even make sense of the situation. I ask for the Holy Spirit to express those agonised longings for me. Sometimes this leads me to feeling inspired in what to say next. On other occasions, no words come to mind, but I do feel peace. Whatever happens, I trust that the Holy Spirit has it covered. After all, He is a lot wiser than me. “God who knows the heart’s secrets understands, of course, the Spirit’s intention as he prays according to God’s will for those who love him” (Romans 8:27 J.B. Phillips).

Every now and then, I realise that my inadequacy in prayer isn’t restricted to the times when no words flow; I probably don’t pray as I ought when I actually feel very confident in my words! Involving the Holy Spirit in all intercessions should be my default position, not just when I feel desperate.

Every now and then my young nieces or nephews present me with various problems that they are struggling with. One example is being asked to fix a toy that has stopped working. They don’t explain to me how they think I should fix it; instead they turn it over with complete trust that I know what I am doing. This is quite refreshing and revealing. Perhaps my prayer life can learn from this! The Holy Spirit is always present, ever ready and already ahead of me. When prayers are needed, he is the first one we should turn to.

Are your sighs too deep for words? Then ask for the Holy Spirit to bring you into his ongoing intercession. For He knows the right and good way to express the prayer locked away in our hearts.

Dear Father, we don’t know how to prayer as we ought. We look to your Holy Spirit to take all of our deep sighs and agonised longings and bring them to you. Where we can participate, please share these prayers with us; but above all, give us complete trust that the Spirit is interceding in all the situations that trouble us. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Ian Woodley

About the Author:
Ian Woodley is an Elder and Pastoral Council member of the Edinburgh Congregation of Grace Communion International, UK.

Local Congregation:
GCI, Edinburgh
Gilmerton New Church
Ravenscroft Street
EH17 8QJ

Meeting time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Peter Mill
Email: edinburgh@gracecom.church

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One Response to “24th April 2019”

  1. John Magowan on April 24th, 2019 9:53 am

    Well put Ian…we really do need to rely on the Holy Spirit’s help, guidance and comfort at all time. We are weak but he is strong, as the hymn goes.

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