LESS IS MORE
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8.26-27.
Prayer is a mystery, isn’t it?
Prayer is simple and yet complex. It is the interaction between the Father and His child but, at the same time, it is God’s way of ruling the earth through us. He gave the mandate to the first pair to manage the earth for Him. This mandate has never been withdrawn, even though man changed allegiance in the Garden of Eden. Ever since then, human beings have been exploiting and destroying the earth rather than caring for it through their self-proclaimed independence.
People who reject God in favour of some deity they have created or some god someone else has created and persuaded them to follow, still believe that they need to “pray”. How else can they get the attention of their god? But does their god hear? Does their god respond? What are they asking? What is the purpose of their prayers?
As I said, God and His children communicate through an activity called “prayer”. It needs no rituals or accessories to get our God’s attention. He is as near to us as our breath. Contrary to the idea that He is in “heaven”, wherever that is, He is Immanuel – God with us. In actual fact, He is even nearer that that. He is in us! By His Spirit, who is also God, The Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our spirits and He represents the Father and the Son within us. He speaks to us and He speaks for us.
Have you ever been in a situation so terrible that you felt absolutely helpless? You didn’t even know what to pray. All you could do was to turn to God, cry out His name and groan or weep. Your only prayer was, “Oh God!” or “Jesus, help!” That was also prayer. The Holy Spirit was right there, in the situation with you, taking your wordless groaning and interpreting it to the Father as a request.
The Holy Spirit has many roles in our hearts. We have already talked about His role as the Spirit of sonship. Without Him we could never understand who we are nor could we utter the cry, “My Abba!” We would never have the assurance that we are God’s children and we would never be able to put to death the fleshly appetites that pull us away from God.
His role as Intercessor is without parallel in any man-made religion. He speaks from within us to the Father as the interpreter of our groans. It is not as though the Father does not know what our hearts are saying at a time of deep distress. That would make the Him less that God because there would be things He does not know. However, the Father and the Spirit are in such close communion that they interact on the most intimate level in their love for and participation in the lives of their people.
Not only does the Holy Spirit intercede for us but He does it in a way that communicates His feelings for us. He transfers our groans – the only way we can communicate the depth of our distress – to the Father with groans of His own. Our groans are the language of emotional pain which God knows and speaks and, in His compassionate love, answers.
“During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help went up to God. God heard their groaning and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So, God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.” Exodus 2:23-25.
God always responds to our groans. They are sweet music in His ears because they tell Him that we need Him. As a Father, He wants to be wanted. Like little children who want to be independent, we try to fix the things we break. In our foolish and immature independence, we make things worse until all we can do is groan and cry out to God for help.
The pathway to maturity for believers in Jesus, strangely enough, is not to become more independent but to become more helpless, like a new-born baby at its mother’s breast.
So, sometimes our groans speak more eloquently to the Father than many words. He does not need words to know and understand our hearts.
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