When There Are No Words to Say God Will Say Them
I wrote this post a year ago after the tragic suicide of a teenager in our church. Today is the one year anniversary, and the promise is still true.
You know you are living a rarified moment when there are no words to say. If speechless, then chances are you have just experienced the best moment of your life or the worst moment of your life-the joy or the pain is simply beyond expression.
Many in our congregation find themselves in speechless pain. One of our own teenagers has committed suicide. What can we even say about news as awful as this? Nothing. We can say nothing, for our words will fail us. But that doesn’t mean that nothing is being said.
One of the most remarkable promises in Scripture is that when we can’t speak, when we don’t even have the strength to pray, God will do it for us.
Romans 8:26, “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.”
Notice first what the Holy Spirit does not do. He does not fix our weakness; we are left in that posture. He does not fix our circumstances; we are left in the struggles. He does not give us divine revelation so that we can at least understand what is going on; we are left in our ignorance.
Instead, He prays for us. The manner of the Spirit’s help is intercession. God is so committed to His children that He not only hears our prayers, He will offer up the prayers for us when we can’t pray.
And notice how intimate and personal His prayers are. “The Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings…” This section of Romans 8 is dealing with suffering, and this is the third groaning mentioned. In vs. 22 the creation is groaning to be liberated from the consequences of the fall, in vs. 23 people are likewise groaning for this freedom, and now in our verse God groans. The Spirit joins with the chorus of groaning.
This means that His intercessions are not distant, proper, detached, unsympathetic, prayers. “Dear God, please help this poor person who seems to be in a lot of pain.” No, they are intimate, desperate, authentic, groanings on our behalf. The Spirit enters into the struggle, is with us in our trial, identifies with our weakness, and groans along side us.
God is praying for you. And He prays for you in a manner that goes beyond your capabilities. “With groaning too deep for words.” Speech is limited and at times our needs exceed our ability to articulate them, but the Spirit is praying for us in a way we could never pray, groaning with divine Trinitarian language that goes beyond the mere words of man.
It is admittedly a deep mystery, but the picture we are given in Scripture is that God the Father sends His Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of His people, who then prays for His people back to Father. So in a sense, God prays for us and then answers His own prayers. And in this way you are being perfectly prayed for at all times. That is how committed God is to our care.
You know what this means? It’s okay to be speechless. It’s okay to have no words. It’s okay to have imperfect words. It’s okay to yell at the heavens with raw emotion. It’s okay to have no answers. It’s okay when all you can do is groan and cry. It’s okay because God has you.
He is perfect, His prayers for you are perfect, and His answer to His own prayers for you are perfect. We may not be able to understand His ways, but in the end we will rejoice that He listened to His own perfect prayers on our behalf.
God loves you, and God is praying for you.