‘…God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves…and keeps us present before God.’ (Romans 8:26–27 The Message)
If I wanted to tell my wife that I love her I would probably say ‘I love you’. It’s not very original or imaginative and while it conveys how I feel in a succinct way it doesn’t get to the heart of what I’m feeling deep inside. That’s because I don’t always have the words to express the depth of feeling I have. But what if I expressed my love through a Shakespeare sonnet? What if I said to her, ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.’ Or what if I used the words of Robert Burns,
O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in june;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune:
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only Luve
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.
These sentiments convey what I feel inside and communicate it in a way I never could.
I think this is a picture, a tiny glimpse of what the Spirit does for us. I want to tell God how much I love him, I want to pray for other people, I want to pour out the innermost feelings of my heart but I don’t always have the right words or even know what to pray for. It’s here that the Spirit takes those deep yearnings, converts them into the equivalent of a Shakespeare sonnet or a Rabbie Burns poem, and presents them to our Abba Father
(cf. Romans 8:15).
I want to express the gratitude I have for this work of the Spirit in my life, but I’m not sure any words I have would adequately get across how I really feel. Thankfully that doesn’t matter for he knows my thoughts better than I do and prays them more lucidly and colourfully than I ever could.
Father, I love you, and I pray that the Holy Spirit will take those words and fully express everything that is on my heart in glory and praise to you.
Have a good week praying in the Spirit.