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The Spirit's Intercession

The Apostle Paul teaches in his letter to the Romans that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in accordance with God's will. What, exactly, does this mean?
by Lorraine E. Espenhain | Source: Catholic.net

Many years ago, a friend of mine was going through a very difficult period in her life. To make matters worse, when she would attempt to take her needs to the Lord in prayer, she found that she couldn’t pray. Her mind was so focused on the difficulty of her circumstances that she simply could not concentrate in prayer the way she needed to. If there was ever a time in her life when she needed to pray, it was then. And yet, she found that she was too weak, frustrated, frightened, and discouraged to be able to pray effectively. She was facing a double hardship now: a difficult trial and the inability to effectively pray concerning it.

I listened patiently to her as she poured out her heart to me concerning these things. As she spoke, the Spirit brought back to my remembrance Paul’s teaching in his letter to the Romans concerning this very thing. In that particular letter, he instructed the believers as follows: "The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for us in accordance with God’s will." [Ro 8:26-27].

One of the great blessings that comes to us when we receive the Holy Spirit is that He intercedes for us day and night before the Father. According to Paul, when He intercedes for us, He utters groans, supplications, and pleadings to God which we are not able to hear; only God is able to hear them. If no one on the entire planet ever prayed for you again, you would still have an Intercessor, the Holy Spirit, Whom God has given to all who are in Christ.

Not only this, but according to Paul, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in accordance with God’s will. What, exactly, does this mean?

We may consider ourselves ‘prayer warriors,’ or know people in our lives who would fall under this category. But no matter how effective we or others may be when it comes to prayer, we can never match the Spirit’s intercessions for us. Man is not omniscient, which is a fancy religious word that simply means ‘all-knowing.’ Because we are not all-knowing, we do not always know the proper way in which to pray concerning our circumstances. Not so with the Spirit, Who intercedes for us in accordance with the Father’s will!

Because He is part of the Trinity, He knows exactly why God is allowing us to face certain circumstances and what He wants to accomplish in our lives through those circumstances. He knows exactly what God’s will is for each and every single one of our lives. He knows where we are strong and where we need to improve or be changed altogether. No matter how many situations confront us in a given day, He knows exactly how God desires to use them in our lives, and it is on the basis of all this knowledge that He intercedes for us in accordance with the Father’s will.

A brother in Christ calls you up and informs you that he has lost his job. He then asks you to pray for him and his family. You get off the phone, kneel down in the living room, and begin to intercede. What do you pray? Probably the same thing that I would pray. "Lord, please give my brother a job. He has a family to support and bills to pay. He will lose his house if You do not provide this job for him. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen." You then get up and go about your business. You have interceded for your brother, just as he asked you to do. But have you interceded in accordance with the Father’s will? You cannot, for you are not God and you do not fully understand the divine purpose for your brother’s job loss.

The Spirit, however, has complete knowledge concerning God’s will for your friend’s life. He knows the areas in your friend’s character that need to be developed and changed so that he will become more like Christ. He is fully aware of the spiritual fruit that God desires to cultivate or prune in your friend’s life. He knows the areas in your friend’s life which are hindering him from growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ, and He knows exactly how God plans to be glorified in his life. So what does He do? While you’re crying out to God to bless your brother in Christ with employment, the Spirit is crying out for God to achieve the spiritual, heavenly purpose behind that unemployment. He knows exactly why God allowed it and how God desires to use it. When He prays, this is precisely what He asks for. His prayers will always line up with God’s specific will for our lives. This is what Paul is referring to when he teaches that the Spirit intercedes for us in accordance with God’s will.

We are weak in our understanding of God and His ways. As much as we may love and desire Him, our knowledge of Him, His will, and His ways are severely limited. We are of this earth. We cannot possibly understand every heavenly thing. Therefore, it is impossible for us to always know how we ought to pray for ourselves or for others. When we approach the throne of our heavenly Father, we approach Him with a limited understanding and knowledge of Who He is, how He operates, and why He does what He does in our lives or the lives of those whom we love. But because He is God, the Spirit has complete knowledge and understanding of God the Father and what He desires to achieve in our lives. Therefore, when He intercedes for us, His intercessions will always be completely aligned with the Father’s will for our lives. It is not possible for the Spirit to intercede for us out of the will of God.

Sometimes, when we find ourselves going through dry times or difficult times in our walk with God, it can be extremely lonely. Did you ever find yourself desperately trying to articulate to someone else exactly what you were facing and what you were feeling only to find that you were unable to do so? Did you ever find yourself being frustrated because those around you did not seem to understand what you were going through no matter how clearly you tried to convey this?

Truth be told, I think we’ve all been there. We want the listener to be able to jump into our heart, read everything in it so that he or she will know exactly where we are coming from, and then jump on God’s throne in order to deliver the comfort, understanding, and answers that we seek. And when the poor listener doesn’t deliver what our misery and discouragement demand, we become disappointed, frustrated, and even angry with them.

And yet, there is One Who does understand. He knows exactly how you feel, and He is able to articulate it clearly before the throne of your Father in Heaven. We don’t need to spend an hour with man discoursing on the misery of our plight and the feelings that we are struggling with. It is the Spirit Who understands, and it is He who knows exactly how to intercede for you in your circumstances.

You might feel that all is going well in your life right now and that you have no needs in your life. This is because we tend to think like men rather than with the mind of Christ. The Spirit, however, always sees the true spiritual needs that are in our lives (whether we are aware of those needs or not) and it is on the basis of those needs that He intercedes for us. Therefore, even when things appear to be going smoothly in our lives, the Spirit is still interceding for us in accordance with God’s will, because there are always areas in which we need to grow or be changed.

Do we really believe that the only time in which the Spirit intercedes for us is when we are weak or going through trying times? What parent only cares for a child or looks after his affairs when he is sick or in trouble? Do we not care for our children in times of health and good fortune as well? And so it is with the Spirit of the Living God, Who lives within us. In good times and bad, He is always interceding for us in accordance with the Father’s will.

Right now, the Spirit is aiding you and bearing you up, though you know it not. While you go through your days, He pleads before the throne of your Father in Heaven in your behalf using groanings and words which you are not able to hear. If no one else is praying for you, He is. If no one else knows what you are going through, He does. He knows exactly what God’s specific will is for your life. Not only this, but He knows exactly how God plans to use your circumstances to accomplish His purpose in your life, and it is along these lines that He is praying for you.

Should we pray for ourselves? Do we need the prayers of others? Absolutely! In many of his letters, the Apostle Paul asked the believers to pray for him. But he also recognized that there was always One who was interceding for him whether men were crying out to God in his behalf or not.

You are not alone in whatever it is you are facing. If a thousand believers in Christ gathered around you and cried out to God in your behalf, their prayers combined could never equal the prayer of the One who lives within you. He alone knows the fullness of God’s will for your life. He alone knows exactly what it is going to take to align your life with that will, and He alone knows precisely how your Father intends to use your situation to accomplish this. He can do these things because He is a part of the Trinity, and as such, He is God.

We who believe in the Holy Trinity believe that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Spirit is God. The Scriptures clearly teach that if we belong to Christ, then the Spirit of Christ lives within us. Therefore, God lives within us, and it is God who intercedes for us.

God in us crying out to God for us. Brothers and sisters, when it comes to finding the perfect prayer partner...

...it just doesn’t get any better than that.

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Published by: Lu
Date: 2011-08-21 22:41:06
This is exactly what I've been searching for! Thank you! I'm sending a copy of this article to a sister of mine that is in need of spiritual help. I'll let you know what happends. (The Spirit helped me to understand and accept Gods will.)

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