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26 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.



The “but” here is very strong contrast. The emphatic distinction is between our inability to pray properly and the Holy Spirit’s intercession for us.

the Spirit Himself [emphatic] makes intercession [keeps on interceding] for us

The Holy Spirit intercedes for the believer when he or she is lost about how to pray. He interposes on our behalf on not just one occasion, but rather constantly—He is a persistent help in our prayers. He is diligent to plead our cause when we do not know how to pray properly. The Spirit does not do all of the praying for us, but He “helps” us in prayer.

The Greek word “intercession” occurs only here in the New Testament. The idea is to approach or appeal to someone for someone else. It is a double compound word with emphasis, a word of rescue of someone in trouble.

with groanings [sighs of distress] which cannot be uttered.

The Holy Spirit prays with groans that the Christian cannot express or formulate in words. This is not the believer’s groans but the Spirit’s.


Because of our finiteness we cannot fully know what to pray about, so we need the Holy Spirit’s help in doing so.


It is difficult at times for Christians to put in words the reality of their condition in relationship to God’s will. The Holy Spirit intercedes for believers when they do not know how to pray in the will of God. The Holy Spirit prays on behalf of believers, since God’s will is often hidden from them. The Spirit answers this inadequacy by praying for Christians in their ignorance. He does this according to God’s will. The Holy Spirit properly articulates God’s will in His prayer for the saint.

Most of us do not pray very well. We find prayer a difficult exercise. Often we do not know what we truly need from God’s viewpoint. This was true of Paul himself. He asked God three times to take away the ”thorn” in his body ( 2 Co 12:7-9). God gave him a different answer than his request. Our needs go beyond either (1) our ability to express them properly in words or (2) even the content as to what we should pray about.

Neither can we hide behind a plea of ignorance and neglect to pray. Prayer is an essential part of the Christian life.