As we continue our trek through Romans, we’re about to look at one of the most misunderstood sections of Scripture. Let me explain.
The Apostle Paul had a very deep experience praying in the spirit. Now, along comes the Bible translators, most of whom have never prayed in tongues.
They desperately try to understand the words he wrote. What ends up happening, in many cases, is that they don’t translate the words, but try to give us what they think he’s trying to say.
I want to let Paul tell us in his words, inspired by the Holy Spirit.
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 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.
It’s very important that we understand this verse. First of all, there’s no capital “s” in the word spirit. The translators did that because they believed that this passage was referring to the Holy Spirit.
Actually, this verse is talking about the interaction between our spirit and the Holy Spirit. I believe that the first part is talking about our human spirit. I would ask you to trust me on this for now.
We’ll look at another verse in my next post that will bear me out (1 Corinthians 2:11-12). At that point, if you disagree, you’re free to disregard what I say. But for now I ask you to keep an open mind.
I believe that verse 26 is saying that our spirit cooperates with our weakness. It’s very familiar with the failings of our flesh. Because it knows you intimately, your spirit works with your weakness.
What is the weakness that it’s talking about here? The literal Greek in this verse says, we do not know, by seeing and observing, the objective of the prayer precisely as needed. We don’t always fully understand what we’re praying for.
As a pastor, when someone comes forward for prayer, I want to see them blessed. If they say, “Pastor, I’m having severe headaches – pray for me.”, then I want to see them healed. So I pray in the name of Jesus, against that sickness.
This verse is saying that I don’t always know what’s happening. According to my observation, the person needs to be healed of the headaches. However, what if I don’t know that this person has been nursing bitterness against a brother in the Lord? What if the headaches are a physical manifestation of this bitterness?
There are many sins that can cause physical symptoms. The objective of the prayer should be to let go of the bitterness. That’s why the Scripture says that I don’t always know the objective of the prayer exactly as needed. This is a part of my weakness that my spirit helps me with.
So, what does my spirit do to help me? According to this verse, my spirit intercedes over me with sighs that cannot be spoken. Literally, you cannot put what the spirit is doing into words. The fact is, your spirit intercedes for you.
Now, here’s the great part. It says that he who searches our hearts does this work. It’s my spirit who searches my heart. Again, I’ll show you this elsewhere in Scripture in my next post. My spirit searches my heart AND knows the mind of THE SPIRIT.
Here I believe that THE SPIRIT is the Holy Spirit of God. This can only be what it means. Why would Paul feel it necessary to tell us that the Holy Spirit knows the mind of the Holy Spirit?
So what this tells me is that my spirit knows my weaknesses and searches my heart. But, because of the fact that the Holy Spirit now resides in me, my spirit also knows the mind of the Holy Spirit. And it’s this same Holy Spirit that intercedes for all the saints in the perfect will of God.
This is simply the most powerful interaction that anyone could ever hope for. These two things are happening as we pray in the spirit. My spirit intercedes for me knowing both my needs and my weaknesses. The Holy Spirit intercedes for the saints knowing God’s will. As they get together and share with one another, there’s nothing that they cannot accomplish together.
Question: How does prayer in the spirit bring your prayer life to a whole new level?
© 2021 Nick Zaccardi