Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
— Romans 8:26
Have you ever experienced a time when you didn’t know what to pray for yourself or for someone else? Have you ever been in a dilemma, and you didn’t know how to get out of it? Have you ever felt stuck in a predicament where you were required to make a decision, but you didn’t know what to do? Or have you ever said, “Lord, I’m so confused that I don’t even know how to pray! Lord, please help me”? If you have felt this way before, or perhaps even now, then I have great news for you today! The Holy Spirit wants to help you pray!
Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
This verse is packed with gems from the Greek that let us know the Holy Spirit wants to help us when we don’t know how to pray! The word “helpeth” comes from the Greek word sunantilambetai, which is a very complex triple compound word. But the first part of the word is the Greek prefix sun, and this is what I want to draw your attention to right now because it’s so important for you to understand.
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The little Greek word sun is a very important word. It connects you to someone else. It carries the idea of partnership and cooperation. For instance, in Second Corinthians 6:1, when Paul writes, “We then, as workers together with him…,” he uses the word sunergos to depict our partnership with God. If Paul had wanted to depict a person who was working alone, he could have used only the word ergos, for by itself, this word would picture a single, solitary worker. But when the word sun is attached to the front of ergos, it is transformed into the word sunergos and pictures two or more people who are working together like partners on the same job. This is no longer the picture of a lonely, solitary worker; now there is an entire team working together to get a job accomplished. Because of this, some newer translations render Second Corinthians 6:1 this way: “We then, as co-laborers together with him.…”
There are literally scores of places where the word sun is used this way in the New Testament; however, this one sample from Second Corinthians 6:1 is sufficient to express the impact of the word, which conveys the ideas of partnership, cooperation, collaboration, teamwork, or a joint effort.
As Paul continues in Romans 8:26, he uses the word “infirmities” to depict our spiritual predicament. The word “infirmities” is the Greek word astheneia, which really should be translated weaknesses. This word describes people who are weak, sick, or broken in their bodies, minds, or emotions. But Paul is not writing about a physical problem; he’s writing about a spiritual one. He identifies this problem when he says, “…for we know not what we should pray for as we ought….”
The word “what” is the Greek word ti, which means the very little thing. It underscores our total ignorance about how to pray — demonstrating that we don’t even know how to pray about the little things, not to mention the larger issues in life. Because we are limited in our view, we are simply unable to see all the facts and details that are required to pray effectively. This is why we need divine guidance and help. Praise God, we are not left to try to figure it all out on our own! Remember, the Greek word sun in the word “helpeth” lets us know that the Holy Spirit comes to partner, cooperate, collaborate, and join efforts with us in moments when we feel weak and helpless and don’t know how to pray!
Paul describes this supernatural assistance of the Holy Spirit when he writes, “…but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us….” Do you see the word “intercession”? It is the Greek word huperentugchano, and it is only used in this one place in the New Testament to describe the unique, powerful, and wonderful intercessory ministry of the Holy Spirit!
The word huperentugchano is an old word that means to fall in on behalf of someone else. It is what we might call a rescue. For instance, if someone fell into a deep cavern, you would have to descend down into that cavern to where that person is in order to rescue him and get him out.
This is precisely the idea of this word huperentugchano. By using this word, Paul tells you that the Holy Spirit performs this special work of intercession when you are at a loss for words and don’t know how to pray, or when you feel trapped and you don’t know what to say. Suddenly and supernaturally, the Holy Spirit falls into that place of helplessness with you to join you as a Partner in prayer in the midst of your circumstances.
Are you one of those people who has experienced moments when you didn’t know how to pray? Have you been in a tight spot you didn’t know how to get out of? Have you prayed, “Lord, I’m so confused, I don’t even know what to say! Please help me”? If your answer is yes, you are a perfect candidate for the help of the Holy Spirit! He is your divine Partner — standing by, ready at any moment to come to your rescue! Just cry out today and say, “Help me, Holy Spirit!”
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I need Your help! I am so frequently at a loss for words and don’t seem to know what to say when I pray. Since You sent the Holy Spirit to help me, I am asking the Spirit of God to fall into my situation with me; to join me as my Partner; to collaborate with me in prayer; to become a part of my team; and to get me out of this mess I’m in, putting me on a right and stable path. I am obviously never going to get there without special assistance, so today I’m asking for HELP!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that the Holy Spirit is my Partner! I call out to Him in my moment of need, and He quickly comes to my rescue. He enlightens my eyes; He shows me what I cannot see by myself; and He gives me the right words to say when I pray. Because I have the Holy Spirit, I am no longer speechless or helpless to know how I should pray. With Him as my Helper, I am getting better and better in prayer every day!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Have you ever experienced a moment when you didn’t know how to pray? What did you do in that moment? Did you walk away in defeat, or did you call out and ask the Holy Spirit to help you pray?
2. Have you ever experienced one of those supernatural moments when you were suddenly aware that the Holy Spirit had come to your rescue? After feeling powerless and tongue-tied minutes earlier, did you unexpectedly become super-charged with power and authority and immediately start taking command of the situation in the power of the Spirit?
3. Is there presently any area of your life in which you need to invite the Holy Spirit to enter and rescue you, putting you back on a path that is more pleasing to God and to you?