Rom.8:26 – And in a similar way, the Holy Spirit takes hold of us in our human frailty to empower us in our weakness. For example, at times we don’t even know how to pray, or know the best things to ask for. But the Holy Spirit rises up within us to super-intercede on our behalf, pleading to God with emotional sighs too deep for words.
One of the great mysteries of God is prayer. The omnipotent and omniscient God hears and answers our prayers. There are two main ingredients of prayer that actually come from God and not from us. The first is His word Jesus, said it like this, “But if you live in life-union with me and if my words live powerfully within you—then you can ask whatever you desire and it will be done”. The word of God is the very foundation of our prayers. In today’s verse we see God’s second great ingredient for prayer, the Holy Spirit. If God’s word is the understanding of the Lord, the Holy Spirit is the unveiling of His affections. These two ingredients, the Word and the Spirit make for a very effective prayer. Here is how the Puritan John Cotton explained the work of the Spirit in prayer.
“The Spirit of Grace in the heart is greater than the world; nothing can do what the Spirit of Grace can do. It teaches us to cry with sighs and unutterable groans. A soul cannot tell God how much it grieves in such a case as this, because the principle of it is the Spirit of grace. We are shallow and can soon run our eyes and hearts dry for any grief we take up ourselves. But where the Spirit of grace works, the grief that it puts forth cannot be expressed. As it comes from a deeper fountain, the eternal love of Christ, so it has a deeper work. It searches the deep things of God. It is a profound spirit, and so it works a profound work.”
So have you been overcome with emotion recently? Many have in these unprecedented waters we have been asked to navigate. Maybe those emotions could be described as affections. Even better, maybe they are the affections of the Holy Spirit. What should be our response? Give words, unspeakable words to those affections. Those are the prayers that change the world.