Statement of Faith
The Four Most Important Things We Could Ever Tell
Listen to this week's message!
Map to the Church
Enhance your daily reading of God's word. Click here for free, printable Bible Reading and Prayer Journal sheets!
"Our Divine Partner in Prayer"
Wednesday Evening Home Bible Study
May 26, 2004
Theme: The Holy Spirit helps us because of our weakness
Romans 8 highlights the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It's by the Holy
Spirit that we are now to walk in life (vv. 1-11). And it is by the Holy
Spirit that God communicates to our hearts that we are His children (vv.
12-17). Verses 18-25 expand on the fact that we have hope as children
of God even during a time of suffering. And now, in verses 26-27, the
ministry of the Holy Spirit toward us is picked up by Paul again. Just
as the Holy Spirit communicates to us, He also helps us in our communication
to the Father - hence, Paul begins by saying, "Likewise . . ." (v. 26).
The Holy Spirit is here being presented as our divine "partner in prayer".
He "helps" us (sunatilambanomai; "to come to the aid") in our prayers
because of our "weakness". Three Greek words for prayer are found in these
1. proseuchõmai - to "pray" (v. 26). This is the normal
word for prayer. We don't know what we should pray for as we ought.
2. huperentugchanõ - to "intercede" (v. 26). This is a word
that emphasizes what is done for another. The Holy Spirit, because of
our weakness, "intercedes" on our behalf.
3. entugchanõ - to "approach" or "appeal" or "petition" (cf.
Romans 8:34; Heb. 7:25). (Note how this word is similar to the word
huperentugchanõ; except that it doesn't have the prepositional prefix
huper, which means "in behalf of".) We can be assured of God's reception
of the Holy Spirit's intercession for us, because He "makes intercession"
or "petitions" for the saints in a way that is in full accordance with
the Father's will.
What a wonderful gift God has given us in the Person of His indwelling
Holy Spirit. He helps us to live a life that pleases the Father in many
ways; but here we see that He helps us in our weakness in prayer.
I. THE SPIRIT HELPS US BY INTERCEDING BEFORE THE FATHER
ON OUR BEHALF (v. 27).
A. We desperately need help in prayer (proseuchõmai); because
we don't know how to pray as we should:
1. We fail to approach God in the proper reverence (1 Tim.
2. We don't know the future (James 4:13-15).
3. We don't know what's best to ask (2 Cor. 12:8-9).
4. We pray with impure motives (James 4:3).
5. We ask in an impatient or inpersistant manner (Matthew 26:40;
6. We often lack faith in our asking (Mark 4:40).
7. We ask without understanding God's will correctly (1 John 5:14-15).
B. For this reason, the Holy Spirit makes "intercession" (huperentugchanõ)
for us. He steps in and helps our weakness.
1. He Himself helps us. He doesn't sit up in heaven wondering
what we're talking about, or why we can't seem to get it right. Our
prayers are so important to the Father that the Holy Spirit is sent
to take residence in us and insure the success of our prayers.
2. He Himself intercedes for us as the deepest possible level
- communicating, as it where, that which we can't communicate with
words. He intercedes with groanings which cannot be uttered (literally,
"wordless groanings"). We are limited in what we can pray by the
liabilities of human speech. But the Spirit expresses our afflictions
and heartfelt longings to the Father in ways that words could never
II. THE SPIRIT INTERCESSION IS WONDERFULLY EFFECTIVE (v. 27).
A. The Spirit's intercession for us is fully comprehended
by the Father. The Father sees not as men see, and judges not as men
judge (1 Sam. 16:7; Jer. 17:10; Heb. 4:13). And so, if the Father, who
searches men's hearts, knows what goes on in the mind of His creatures,
He surely knows the mind of the Spirit. We can be sure that the "inexpressable
groanings" of the Spirit on our behalf are fully perceived and comprehended
by the Father.
B. The Spirit's intercession for us is always in full accord with
the Father's will. We often pray in ways that are out of line with
God's will; but this is never true of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:10-11).
We can be sure that the Spirit's intercession for us will always be
answered, because He intercedes for us in perfect conformity to what
God already purposes to do.
C. The Spirit's intercession is for "the saints". He doesn't pray
for just you or me. He prays with a mind to the plurality of God's
people. He will never intercede for me in a way that harms you, and
He will never intercede for you in a way that harms me. His intercession
takes all of His saints into full account with absolute perfection.
His prayers always have the whole body of Christ in view.
* * * * * * * * * *
Think of how this motivates us to pray. It gives us confidence, because
we know that no matter how imperfect my prayers are, they are made effective
by the Spirit. It reveals how much God values our prayers, because He
sends His own Holy Spirit to intercede for us. What's more, it shows that
we have two divine Persons interceding for us; because Jesus Himself also
intercedes for us at the right hand of the Father (v. 34). One divine
Person intercedes for us at God's right hand in heaven, and another intercedes
for us while indwelling us on earth!! How this should encourage us to