Pray For The Intercession Of The Spirit
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”–Romans 8:26
The concept of interceding suggests a weakness or inability of an individual rendering them incapable of presenting their position. Possibly a quality is lacking and a weakness exists, preventing the individual to act on their own behalf. Thus a representative or assistant acts on behalf of the individual and interposes, presenting the thoughts and circumstances for the individual.
An Internal War
Paul sets the scene for the Romans in 7:22 and 23 by using himself as an example. Paul reveals to the Romans his personal feelings, limitations, and failures as a new creature.
“For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
The renewed or transformed mind or spirit of each consecrated member was once worldly, but in determination and commitment to walk in newness of life is reckoned “spiritual.” However, this spiritual new mind and new will is captured in a human body of imperfection and Paul is referring to this condition of the new creature in the above text. Paul encourages the Romans to reckon themselves dead unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:11).
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”—Romans 8:1
The begetting of the holy spirit brings one into a new relationship with God. Paul offers assurance that as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Also, the Spirit beareth witness with the spirit of the new creature, that he is a child of God (Rom. 8:14, 16). In the same context Paul describes the church members as waiting for this “adoption” (vs. 23) as sons of God when the “reckoned” adoption will become “actual,” resulting in the redemption of the spiritual body of Christ.
Saved By Hope
Trust in these promises of adoption nurtures and develops a “hope” in the new creature. This hope is a reflection of faith and the power of the holy spirit, activating a desire for the fulfillment of God’s promise of glorious liberty from the present fleshly condition. This hope is so vital to the new creature that Paul says, “we are saved by hope” (Rom. 8:24).
In the first part of Romans 8, verse 26, Paul tells the Romans “that the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities.” He is returning to his earlier description of himself knowing that this is typical of all new creatures. The internal “warring” is unavoidable. This condition is caused by the weaknesses or “infirmities” of the flesh, the old man. This beautiful new spiritual being, full of faith and hope, is temporarily captured in a fleshly body and is limited in the purity of spiritual communion with the Heavenly Father.
However, in the second half of the theme text, Paul assures the Romans that the holy spirit of the new creature will “maketh intercession” in representation of this child of God when the fleshly infirmities prevent proper spiritual expression. This is truly a precious gem of encouragement for all those who are diligently seeking to please the Lord.
The Holy Spirit
God, in his wisdom, has provided the intercession of the holy spirit, allowing communion between the Heavenly Father and his “child”. God does not recognize the fallen flesh, but looks at the heart desires and intent of the new creature. The holy spirit serves to bond the “father and child” until the true adoption is complete.
“And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he (the holy spirit) maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Rom. 8:27).
Jesus made a promise to his disciples that can be identified in the assurances of Paul to the Christians at Rome. Jesus said,
“I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; . . . for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:16, 17).
Later, in verse 26, Jesus explains that the Comforter is the holy spirit, which dwells in the new mind and heart. Indeed, great “comfort” is provided by the intercession of the holy spirit as described by Paul. To comfort is to bring relief of opposition, consolation, and peace of mind. The holy spirit which dwells in the true followers of Christ is the “Comforter” which Jesus promised. As the invisible power of the holy spirit has it’s intervening effect, peace of heart and mind is attained.
When praying, attitude, concentration, and ability to express thoughts and feelings may be vulnerable to the weaknesses of the inherited fallen condition. Paul says, “we know not what we should pray for.” Since the new creature is constantly influenced by the flesh, this is a particularly appropriate time for the intercession of the holy spirit. Unbeknownst to the Christian, the frequency of intercession could be more than imagined, and the Heavenly Father, in His infinite wisdom and love, has made this provision for his child. Thus, the “sweet hour of prayer” is accomplished and the opportunity for precious communion and oneness with the Father is not lost.
The theme scripture text refers to the “groanings which cannot be uttered.” These “groanings” or “sighings” (see Strong’s concordance #4726) by the holy spirit have the same concept and implication as when previously Paul described the whole creation groaning in verse 22. The base of this word comes from #4727 and implies a condition of being in “straits” or a limited or confined position. This certainly applies to the world of mankind. They unknowingly are waiting for the adoption, the redemption of the completed body of Christ.
But verse 26 is specifically referring to the spiritual class, and as Paul previously described the new mind or child of God is spiritually limited. He is “in straits” due to the confining of the flesh.
This “groaning” must not be misunderstood to mean complaining or an expression of pain or suffering. Paul has already identified the new creature as “patient” in the previous verse. Paul is merely using this term as an identification of the condition in which the spiritual creature exists. He is groaning (sighing) and waiting patiently for the “actual” adoption, the redemption of the completed body of Christ.
Therefore, God chooses to ignore the fallen creature, that is the old man, and only deals with the new creature, the new mind and spirit. He has graciously provided the role of the holy spirit to assist in spiritual expression which is sometimes in feelings and thoughts which cannot be put into words.
Pray For Intercession
Let us be encouraged to apply this scriptural lesson taught by the Apostle Paul. With faith in the “intercession of the holy spirit” when, “we know not what we should pray for as we ought,” let us pray for the holy spirit to intercede on our behalf. Peter explains that by the great and precious promises we are, indeed, made partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4).
Let us claim this precious promise of spiritual intercession with heart thankfulness and be determined to develop an even deeper and more intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father.