Lost for Words
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
As a man was leaving church, he stopped to talk to his pastor and told him, "Pastor, you are smarter than Albert Einstein." The pastor blushed and replied, "Smarter than Einstein? Einstein was one of the smartest men who ever lived. What makes you think that I am smarter than Einstein?" In answer the man said, "Well, Einstein was so smart that when he spoke people could only understand five percent of what he said. When you speak people cannot understand anything you say."
Lack of clarity and comprehension is not only a problem in preaching but in praying. Paul in his letter to the Romans acknowledges that there are times in the Christian life where there is a failure to communicate our hearts' desire to God in a given set of circumstances. We know we ought to pray, but there are days when we do not know what we ought to pray (Luke 18:1; Rom. 8:26). Life leaves us scratching our heads. We stand stir crazy at some crossroads in life not knowing what to ask from God. Our thoughts are all jumbled up leaving us tongue-tied before the throne of grace.
In such cases, our garbled prayers are due to the fact that we live in a fallen world as finite creatures. This passage places a groaning Christian in the midst of a groaning creation (Rom. 8:20-23, 26). It is hard to know what to pray for in an upside down world. Besides a fallen world, we are stumped by our own weakness which speaks of our blindness towards the mystery of God's providence (Rom. 8:26). We don't know what is best for us, and what constitutes God's best. Sometimes God's best can be a bad thing that works for good (Rom. 8:28). There are times because of our world and our weakness all we can do is sigh. Our prayers become nothing more than a whimper.
The good news of our text is that when you and I find ourselves lost for words, the Spirit of God who causes us to pray in the first place, prays for us (Rom. 8:14-17, 26-27). The marvel of Romans eight is that third person of the Trinity is said to become our prayer partner. Our weak prayers trigger His strong prayers. When you and I are without words, the Spirit makes intercession for us with divine articulations or groanings too deep for words to our Father in heaven. Our groaning in a broken world produces His groaning on our behalf. He is indeed the "divine paraclete" who has been called alongside side to comfort us. Watch this! The Spirit of God knows us completely, and God knows the mind of the Spirit perfectly, therefore that which we cannot put into words is presented to God according to the will of God by the Holy Spirit on our behalf (Rom. 8:27). The Spirit fixes our prayers on the way up so that God hears our prayer made better. It is good to know that God hears us even when we are without words.