Groanings Which Cannot be Uttered

Most of us are familiar with the passage below. To understand how it applies to our lives two key words need to be examined: helps and groanings.

26  Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27  Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27 (NKJV)

The key to understanding the passage is whether the Holy Spirit is interceding for us to the Father or His intercession is through us. The answer is found in the word helps. The word means, “Help, assist, take hold of together, help in obtaining.” (The Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary). One interlinear translate it as “jointly helps.” What this communicates is that when we are overwhelmed and don’t know where to turn or how to pray, He does. The Holy Spirit dwells in us and is stirred by our needs as He works to conform us to the image of Jesus. Thus He responds by stirring up intercession deep within us. When we look to Him He doesn’t take over, He helps.

The passage says this intercessory help is expressed through, “groanings which cannot be uttered.” For those of us who have seen someone in the grip of intercessory travail it is evident what this passage means. While some interpret it as tongues that does not do justice to the passage. The Greek word is used twice in the NT. Here and in Acts 7:34 when Stephen said the Lord heard the groaning of the Israelites in bondage in Egypt. It carries the idea of deep painful sorrow. 

 So, when we are in a deep struggle we can look to Him and let Him move through our spirit and express our heart in ways we can’t normally release!