Groaning in prayer
“The Spirit…intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”
Ro 8:26 NIV
We usually think of groaning as something negative. But groaning in prayer is one of the most positive things we can do: “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (vv. 26-28 NIV). Sometimes when we’re praying about a certain need, we feel it so deeply that we can’t express ourselves in words. At that point the Holy Spirit enters the picture and identifies with us. But He does more than just feel for us, He takes our pain and deepest longings and interprets them to God. What does this tell us about prayer? That the Holy Spirit connects with your prayers when they come from your heart and not just your lips. There are times when you’re unable to articulate a single word in prayer; nevertheless you’re making an important connection. Ever reach a point where you’re so concerned about something that when you come before God, all you can do is sigh? You’re learning something important about prayer! God allows us to groan; otherwise we’d never truly pray. We’d utter words but never really pray from deep within—where “effectual fervent prayer” has to begin (Jas 5:16).