At a dedication ceremony during which a Bible translated into a local African language was presented, the area chief was presented with his own copy. In appreciation, he lifted the Bible to the skies and exclaimed, “Now we know God understands our language! We can read the Bible in our own native mother-tongue.”
No matter our language, our heavenly Father understands it. But often we feel unable to express our deepest longings to Him. The apostle Paul encourages us to pray regardless of how we feel. Paul speaks of our suffering world and our own pain: “The whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth” (Romans 8:22), and he compares that to the Holy Spirit’s work on our behalf. “The Spirit helps us in our weakness,” he writes. “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (v. 26).
God’s Holy Spirit knows us intimately. He knows our longings, our heart-language, and our unspoken words, and He helps us in our communication with God. His Spirit draws us to be transformed into the image of God the Son (v. 29).
Our heavenly Father understands our language and speaks to us through His Word. When we think our prayers are weak or too short, His Holy Spirit helps us by speaking through us to the Father. He yearns for us to talk with Him in prayer.
Thank You, Lord, for understanding my language and innermost longings. When my prayers are weak and dry, bear me up through Your Spirit.
When we feel weak in our prayers, God’s Spirit helps us in ways we can’t imagine.
Our inability to know what to ask for when we pray is part of a bigger story. According to Paul’s letter to the Romans, there’s a lot more we can’t do for ourselves. We also can’t avoid the consequences of our own choices, change our own hearts, make ourselves right with God, or even live up to our own expectations (Romans 4:5; 6:23; 7:18–21). Yet Paul doesn’t leave us helpless and hopeless. He begins and ends chapter 8 showing us how to rise on wings of wonder. Could anything lift us higher than to know that we also can’t do anything that would cause the God who is for us to stop helping and loving us? (vv. 11, 31–39).