When we don’t have the words.
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“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.”
Romans 8:26 English Standard Version.
Have you ever been in conversation with someone and suddenly you regret what you’ve said, and you wish you could take the words back? Then, when you’ve realize you cannot take them back, you continue to talk in hopes of redeeming what you said earlier? I have. A sense of embarrassment pours over me and I say to myself, “Just. Stop. Talking.”
Sometimes this is what prayer is like. I can often try to impress God by saying the right things in prayer, only to go off on tangents and start stumbling over my words or thoughts, until I feel like my prayer has gone off the rails. That feeling has discouraged me in the past, which made coming before God in prayer intimidating. What if I say the wrong thing? Am I going to put the words in the right order?
The good news is that God always hears a prayer that is done in faith, even if it is just a big muddled mess of words. It is also good news to know that when our prayers take off in that direction, it is okay for us to just stop talking. When we are not able to put together the words the way we would like, we have an advocate. The Holy Spirit knows exactly what we need to say, and he steps in for us and eagerly takes our prayers before the Father. Sometimes all we need to do is take a moment of silence when we come before God in prayer, and let the Holy Spirit do the talking for us. We can then rest in the peace of knowing that God has indeed heard our prayer.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Romans 15:13 English Standard Version.
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