by Louise Tucker Jones
We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself, intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. Romans 8:26 (NIV)
I was attending a weekend immersion trip to become more fluent in Spanish. We were given only one rule—absolutely no English! It seemed simple enough as we ordered hamburgers and Cokes for lunch at a fast food restaurant on the way to our destination. But once we arrived, things quickly changed.
Suddenly, we were on our own in an unfamiliar grocery store, shopping for our weekend menu. When we couldn’t find an item, we had to ask in Spanish. Store personnel would shake their heads and move on. At the hotel lobby I often had to use charades and gestures to help the desk clerk understand me. And in our cabin, when the chitchat with my roommates turned serious, I struggled to find the Spanish words to express my thoughts and feelings.
It was a marvelous learning experience. Not just because I became more fluent in Spanish, but I learned first hand what my son, Jay, goes through when he tries to communicate. Being developmentally disabled and having a severe speech articulation disorder, Jay struggles daily with communication, often resorting to sign language and gestures. People often just stare at him and walk away. Sometimes he becomes frustrated, but he never gives up. Yet even with his tenacity, Jay often needs me to translate what he cannot say for others.
As Christians, we sometimes find ourselves in this same situation. We try to do things in our own strength and wonder why it doesn’t work. It’s not that we leave God totally out of our plans, but we often forget to invite the Holy Spirit to do His part.
In much the same way that I intercede for my son, Jay, when he can’t express his needs in words, the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us. When we are in the depths of despair. When we can’t find direction. When our hearts and souls are crushed and we feel totally abandoned. When we don’t have the words to explain our grief or even our joy, the Holy Spirit breaks through and intercedes for us.
What a gracious heavenly Father, to accept our pitiful, prayer petitions, even our groaning, when our hearts are wrenched with pain, then cover us with His awesome, holy love!
Father, thank you for the constant intercession of the Holy Spirit; for hearing our requests when we don’t even have the words to describe our needs. Amen.
About the author: Louise Tucker Jones loves to touch hearts. Her poignant life stories have been published in hundreds of magazines and anthologies, including over a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul titles. Having a son with Down syndrome, Louise writes extensively concerning people with special needs, co-authoring the Gold Medallion award-winning book, Extraordinary Kids. Married to Carl for 45 years before he relocated to heaven, Louise is a mother, grandmother, professed chocoholic, and founder of the support group, Wives With Heavenly Husbands.
Join the conversation: How does knowing the Holy Spirit is interceding for you affect how you pray?