“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
Explanation and Commentary of Romans 8:26
Paul has spent the previous paragraph of Romans explaining that we, along with the whole creation, suffer as we wait eagerly and patiently for the return of Christ. Paul says we are those have been given the Holy Spirit to help us wait. One of the ways that the Spirit helps us is by interceding for us when we don’t know what to pray for. Not only does Christ intercede for us at the right hand of God, but by “wordless groans,” the Holy Spirit is also interceding. When we know what to pray for, we should pray with words, but in our flesh and our limited revelation, we don’t always know. In this case, God knows, and his Spirit intercedes for us. This is a provision for our weakness and limited revelation.
The Bible is clear that we are to seek God’s will in prayer and pray accordingly. But it is wonderful that we don’t have to somehow think of every little thing that we are going to need God’s help with. He already “knows what you need.” It behooves us to obey Jesus and “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Mt 6:33), because in this way, “all these things,” including the things that the Spirit will intercede for, “will be added” to us.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Romans 8:26
#1 “In the same way,”
Verse 25 says that “if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Then in verse 26, it follows, “In the same way.” It is hard to get Paul’s meaning here. It seems that in the same way we hope by the power of the Spirit, we are helped as we wait hopefully, by the same power, “in the same way.”
#2 “the Spirit helps us in our weakness.”
We are weak in our flesh, both spiritually and physically, and we are in constant need of God’s grace and help. He has sent the Holy Spirit for this purpose.
#3 “We do not know what we ought to pray for,”
This does not mean that we never know what to pray for. Paul states elsewhere the fact that we should pray for what we know we need (Eph 6:18). But in our limited condition, there are many things that we need God to do for us that we are not even aware of, and perhaps never will be. How amazing that God has provided a way for us to pray for things we don’t even know we need by the Holy Spirit.
#4 “but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
The Holy Spirit of God himself needs not form words to appeal to the mind of the Father, being one with him. This is a deep mystery, and while it is hard to understand, the application is hope and thankfulness for the provision of God, even to supply prayers on our behalf when we are too weak or ignorant to pray them.
Bible Study on Romans 8:26
Expert Overview of Romans Ch. 5-16
Biblical Translations of Romans 8:26
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
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 [a]for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.