The Spirit's Intercession

How does the Spirit intercede for us in our prayers?

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The Spirit's intercession for us in prayer is something we meet in that language in Romans 8:26-27, and that's where it concretely says that we, in our weakness, we need an ally. And that's where our weakness… We don't know how to pray as we should, and our ally, our Helper, our mediator, the Holy Spirit, is the one who intercedes for us with, and it says, "groanings that are too deep for words." When we understand what's going on there in that passage, the context is one of universal problem. It is a problem that all believers have. We all groan. We all suffer. We are all persecuted. And the Spirit, in prayer, is the answer to that condition. That starts up in verse 18. And so, he's an answer to weakness, and I think that the issue is what happens in the next verse about his searching the heart. I think the Spirit is the one there who is searching the heart, and he is at the level of where I groan, where I don't have words to put onto my experience, my impressions, my feelings. I know in my life that I'm not yet where I need to be as far as heaven is, and "this world is not my home" type of thing… And so, it is the Spirit who searches me and helps me in this time, and I think that he establishes a dialogue in prayer, and I think it's important that we be open to prayer as dialogue here. It's not me informing God, surely. He doesn't need information from me about what my circumstances are that I might pray about, but it is a picture of relationship. I tell him what my heart is, even my laments and my heartaches, the hard things, even accusations I might have against him in my pain.

Answer by Dr. Mark Saucy

Dr. Mark Saucy is a professor of theology at the Talbot School of Theology.