Bible Society of South Africa

Indefinable hope – 20 August 2020

By Xanthe Hancox

Bible text(s)

26In the same way the Spirit also comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit himself pleads with God for us in groans that words cannot express. 27And God, who sees into our hearts, knows what the thought of the Spirit is; because the Spirit pleads with God on behalf of his people and in accordance with his will.

Romans 8:26-27GNBOpen in Bible reader

“Pray continually,” says Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. And James 5:16 reminds us that the prayer of a righteous person “is powerful and effective.” Most of us believe this, but what if you have reached a point in your life when you simply can’t pray?

Perhaps you have no energy to pray. Perhaps life has dealt such a blow that you can’t even talk, much less pray. Sometimes there’s too much pain, or the depression is too deep. It’s too difficult to put our hope into words, and praying seems impossible.

Thank God that he is with us even when we cannot pray. Paul reminds us that Holy Spirit who knows what’s going on in our lives takes over for us. Because Jesus became one of us, we can also be assured that we have a great High Priest who knows what we hope for and he sympathizes with us in our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). Even in our most desperate moments God has us covered.

That’s why we can be thankful for this promise: “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” God the Holy Spirit wants what is best for us and for God’s kingdom. The Spirit is praying for us, interceding for us in ways that human language cannot even express. God knows what we need, and God cares for us, providing what is best for us.

Even when it is hard to pray, we can trust that the Spirit is praying on our behalf. We can live in the hope that God, by his Spirit, will work out his perfect will for our lives.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, pray for us. We do not have the words we need, but we trust that you know everything we need. Your kingdom come, O Lord, and your will be done. Amen.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.6
Find us on