We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
Romans 8 speaks of a threefold groaning in our world.
The creation is groaning like a woman in childbirth to be set free from decay. Earthquakes and hurricanes ravage the earth. We cannot fish in many rivers because they are polluted. Our use of fossil fuels is ruining the ozone layer that protects us from excessive radiation from the sun. Can you hear the restless and anguished groans of creation?
Likewise, Spirit-filled believers are groaning. Cancer devastates our bodies. Racial injustice attacks our communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has disabled our nations and killed many, many people while increasing opportunities for abuse. Can you hear the grief-stricken sobs and cries of God’s people?
Along with us, the Holy Spirit is also groaning while interceding for us in ways that only God can understand. And the Spirit’s groaning changes everything, because it enables both creation and us to have hope and to wait patiently.
Paul concludes that the creation waits expectantly for the children of God to be revealed, when it will be freed from its bondage to decay (Romans 8:19-21). Likewise, as Spirit-filled Christians, we hope for what we do not see and therefore wait patiently (8:25).
How are you doing as you groan over all the effects of sin in this world? Do you hear the Spirit groaning along with you? Groaning yet hopeful—that’s the life we have as God’s children on this earth.
Holy Spirit, intercede for us, that we may help to bring others hope as we await the full coming of your kingdom. Amen.