From Wordless Groans to God’s Ear


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 through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:26-28) 

First of all, let’s set the context. In the NIV, the passage beginning in verse 18 is subtitled “Present Suffering and Future Glory.” Paul is saying right now we are suffering. We are suffering because creation itself is groaning under the decay of sin. That’s just the way it is, and we can’t avoid it.

The problem is, we have questions. We like to ask “Why?” And, shouldn’t we somehow be exempt because we______ (fill in the blank)? And the answer is, the end of this suffering is coming, but it’s not here yet, so we “wait eagerly” with hope for that which we do not yet have.

But while we are waiting, those “why,” “when,” and “how” questions torment us. We aren’t even sure how to pray about them. We just know we want answers; we want relief. We… want.

And the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, takes those questions and presents them to the Father, your good, loving, caring Father. You don’t need words, just the deep longings of your heart.  “Cast all your anxiety (worries, cares) on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7)

And how will that help you? Your loving heavenly Father will listen to your prayers, and He will work out His good purpose in your life. But here’s the thing you need to bear in mind, “The ‘good’ is not necessarily what believers might think is good but is what God deems will be best to assist their growth into the image of Christ and bring them to final glory.”[1]

With God on your side, with your highest good as His goal, remember that whatever you are facing right now, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37).

Go Deeper

[1] NIV Biblical Theology Study Bible (Zondervan, 2019), emphasis added.

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