Summary: Message offering encouragement when we are at a loss for words in prayer.

When We Don’t Know What to Pray...

Romans 8:26-27

November 13, 2004


Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t know how to pray? Something’s going on, and you don’t know what to ask God?

You think that maybe you should pray for one thing, but then you think it should be something else. You just don’t know.

The Bible addresses that dilemma in yet another example of how God’s Word speaks to the every day life of people.

I’m continually amazed at how practical and down to earth the Bible is. How about you?

Today we see that God knows just what’s going on in our lives, and He moves to act, to help us in our times of greatest need.

Let’s look at our passage for today, Romans 8:26-27, and I would like you to read this aloud with me, okay?

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 with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

Let’s look at some ways the Holy Spirit helps when we don’t know what to pray. And my hope is that you will leave here encouraged by the fact that God doesn’t leave us alone when we don’t know what to pray. He steps in to help.


The Holy Spirit comes alongside us.

Our passage says that He helps us in our weakness.

Just before Jesus went to be arrested, He sat down with His disciples and told them all sorts of stuff about what to expect and what would happen to Him. After He told them He would die, He also told them that His going away would actually be a benefit to them.

Why, because when He was gone, the Holy Spirit could come and do His job.

And what is the job of the Spirit? He will convict people of their need for a Savior, guide the disciples into all truth, help them remember everything Jesus said, and he would comfort them.

In other words, He would step in to fill in the steps of Jesus.

One of the names Jesus used for the Holy Spirit was "Comforter." The Greek word for that is "parakletos," which has a couple of meanings that fit with our passage today.

The first meaning is, "comforter," or someone who comes alongside someone. This is Jesus’ description of the Spirit - someone who is there for us.

God the Father didn’t abandon us when Jesus left the earth - we have His presence through the Holy Spirit.

One Sunday after church, a Mom asked her very young daughter what the lesson was about. The daughter answered, "Don’t be scared, you’ll get your quilt." Needless to say, the Mom was perplexed.

Later in the day, the pastor stopped by for tea and the Mom asked him what that morning’s Sunday school lesson was about. He said "Be not afraid, thy comforter is coming." ( - Contributed by: Evelyn Weston)

And He’s right there to comfort us. There have been times in my own life when even in the midst of heartache I have felt an unexplainable presence and comfort. Unexplainable, that is, except by the fact that the Holy Spirit was there, doing the job He was commissioned to do by the Father.

Anyone else been there? You were in the midst of something hard, crying out to God, and all of a sudden you sense His loving arms around you?

I know I’m not the only one. The first way the Holy Spirit helps us is to come alongside us. The second way He helps is that...

The Holy Spirit prays with us.

There are two types of "Oh, God," prayers. The first type is when we say things like, "Oh, God, You are the mighty King of Kings and Lords, awesome is Your majesty, and we praise Your name."

And we need to pray that kind of "Oh, God," kinds of prayers on a frequent basis. If this kind of prayer doesn’t happen on a pretty regular basis, then allow me to suggest that you should spend the next few weeks just reading the Psalms. Seriously!

The second type of "Oh, God," prayer is the kind of prayer we pray when we are overwhelmed, or just at the end of our ropes emotionally, spiritually or physically exhausted, or circumstances threaten to just finally do us in.

This is when all we can do is say, Oh GOD!!!! And we don’t know what else to say.

Have you ever been there? It’s okay to admit it - God wouldn’t have talked about it in the Bible if He didn’t plan for it to happen among His people.

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion