Romans 8:26-27

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.

Helps = to give assistance by sharing a burden

weakness (should be singular) — our general condition of weakness

We do not know how to express ourselves so that our prayers correspond to our need. This isn’t referring to the mode of prayer but the subject.

To pray = request specifically to God with an element of worship.

We don’t know how to pray, so we should always pray in the Spirit. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (Ephesians 6:18).

Groaning — human language isn’t necessary with God. He knows our desires. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, Thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, Thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it (Psalm 139:1-6).

Because — should be “that.”

The Holy Spirit intercedes within us. Christ intercedes for us at God’s right hand. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us (Romans 8:34).

Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25).

The Holy Spirit intercedes for us with respect to Christian experience. This is the teaching of Romans 8:26. Those who hold that believers should receive all they ask for in faith should consider this passage, for here the Apostle clearly states that we know not what we should pray for as we ought. Indeed, this is why the Spirit makes intercession for us. How well it is for us in “this present evil age” that we do not receive all we ask for, even in faith! What problems we would create for ourselves if we did receive all we asked even in believing prayer!

Our Lord’s “whatsoever” promises in Matthew 21:22, et al, were made with the establishment of His kingdom in view, when all will be filled with the Spirit and will know what to pray for, but in this age of darkness (Ephesians 6:12) we often find ourselves saying, “I don’t even know how to pray or what I should ask for.” Hence God has given us His Spirit who, dwelling within, maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. — Stam, pages 202-203.


Three verses in this chapter speak of groaning. The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now (v. 22). And not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves (v. 23). And here we read that “likewise” the Holy Spirit is helping us, interceding with groanings which cannot be uttered. This adverb likewise, in the same manner must refer to the operation of the Holy Spirit groaning within us as we groan in the midst of a groaning creation.

But it is only when the believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit that he can begin to see truth objectively. That may startle some unbelievers, for they accuse us of looking at all things subjectively. They cannot understand that the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit, that they are foolishness to him, and that he cannot know them because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). It is only when the Holy Spirit is within us, helping our infirmity, that we can get away from the subjectivity of our fallen nature and see the truth through Him who is the Spirit of truth.

It is only thus that we are led to the position of groaning within ourselves in the midst of the groaning creation. The veil has been removed from our faces. We no longer see things in the distorted fashion of the unregenerate man. We have stood by God as He caused the light to shine out of darkness and have seen the groaning world of chaos that resulted from sin. Thus we have seen that the same chaos of sin is within ourselves and we have groaned in unison with it. — Barnhouse, page 141, 143.

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