Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
One of the main obejections to and struggles of prayer is that we do not feel that we pray rightly, that our hearts are not reverent enough, that we do not compose our thoughts and requests well enough, that we are easily distracted and a host of other misgivings about our insufficiency in prayer.
But the apostle Paul teaches us that the Holy Spirit comes alongside us in our prayer precisely because of our own inadequacies. The Holy Spirit helps the most righteous person pray as much as he helps the most awkward, confused, stumbling sinner pray. Every saint, no matter how great or small, stands in need of the Spirits help in prayer and never outgrows his need of the Spirit’s continued intercession.
The truth is that we will never be beyond the need of the Holy Spirit’s assistance in our prayers, no matter how far in sanctification we progress – we always stand in need of God’s help, even in our holiest moments.
But what is more is that all the objections and doubts that our hearts raise are confronted by this one truth – the Holy Spirit intercedes with us. We cannot give up praying because we feel inadequate – instead this ought to drive us more to pray, because we can see how much more God is exercising his grace in helping a stumbling sinner make requests.
All of our inadequacies in prayer are filled in and supplied by the Holy Spirit. He is called the “Helper” – he helps those who are so desperate for help in prayer. Often what we need to know for praying is not a better praying regime, or better counsel on what are good things to pray for, or how we can be better “prayer warriors”, but to see simply that the Holy Spirit is praying alongside us and with us.
Do not let your fears of insufficiency in prayer restrain your praying, but instead, present all your requests to God, knowing that even though you are tremendously weak in coming to God, the Spirit is mightly strong in supporting you in your prayers.
Remember, God hears you not because you are so good at praying but because he wants to hear your needs and He has made every effort to ensure that even your most feeble attempts are heard.