Part I of this blog on A Supernatural Partnership considered this question: If God desires that you have a mutual relationship of pleasure and joy with Him in prayer, why is prayer so difficult? Romans 8:26-27 gives a two-fold answer: you lack strength and you lack knowledge.
What is God’s Solution to Your Prayer Problems?
If God left you in this state of weakness and ignorance there would be no hope. What is God’s solution? In a word, it is partnership. It is a supernatural partnership that is yours by faith because of the saving work of Jesus Christ. He has given you the Holy Spirit who ministers to you and through you when it comes to prayer. How does He do this? God provides the ministry of His Spirit in two ways.
- The Holy Spirit’s Help (vs. 26)
The word “help” carries the idea of lending assistance and imparting strength when something is too much for another to handle. Perhaps you have had the experience of helping a friend to move. Many of the pieces of furniture you carried were too heavy for one person to handle—it took help.
In a similar way, the Spirit lends His strengthening assistance and help when you pray. He doesn’t take the problems away from you but He partners with you by providing motivation and energy to overcome your lack of strength. But this assistance of the Spirit does not mean, as you already know, that your prayer life will be perfect. And God does not expect that it will be—He knows your weakness. The energizing help that the Spirit provides is an ongoing ministry to the weak children of God, that is, you and me.
Think of a baby who is moving into the toddler stage. This new toddler has difficulty supporting herself so her walk is unsteady and inconsistent. But you don’t spank her every time she falls down saying, “you must do better.”
In the same way, God deals with you in grace because you are united to Christ—He doesn’t beat you every time you fall. The Spirit’s energizing help is available to you and makes a difference for you. It is part of His sanctifying work, a process of learning more and more to allow His energizing power to fill you, to motivate you in prayer and, in doing so, to overcome the problem of your weakness.
- The Holy Spirit’s Intercession (vs. 26-27)
Paul spoke earlier in Romans 8 of the creation and Christians groaning; now he speaks of the Holy Spirit’s intercession as groaning. As the context shows, it’s the groaning of pain. The Spirit prays for you with power, precision, and pain, laboring with intensity before the Father. He identifies with the groaning of the creation and Christians and longs for our deliverance. One translation says, “He prays with sighs.”
The Spirit’s intercession bridges the gap between your lack of knowledge and how you should pray. His intercession is effective in bringing before the Father what needs to be prayed for. His groaning may reflect the deep, heartfelt concerns you have for those things you have prayed for so much that you have simply run out of words. You have brought them to the throne so many times, all you can do is sit in His presence but words just don’t come. We know a Christian whose wife had Alzheimer’s disease. He cared for her and prayed for her and confessed, “I just don’t know what to pray anymore.” The Spirit’s groaning intercession is effective for this brother before the throne of grace.
So as you approach prayer and are aware that you are weak and ignorant, you can trust that the Spirit of God is energizing and interceding. The gracious work of the Holy Spirit is God’s solution to your problems in prayer. In the third part of this series we will look at how you can put this solution into practice.