John MacArthur – Strength for Today – The Spirit’s Intercession

“But the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).

Because He understands our struggles in this life, the Holy Spirit continually prays for us before the Father’s throne.

In the midst of life’s many difficulties and stressful times, there is hardly anything more comforting than knowing you have a friend—someone on your side. In the legal realm, an attorney formally argues your case when you need to settle a judicial or financial dispute. This concept of friend and advocate is right at the heart of the Holy Spirit’s role as our Paraclete, one called alongside to help (John 14:16).

Paul’s words in today’s passage comfort us with the knowledge that the Spirit is fulfilling the promise of John 14 by being on our side and shepherding us toward Heaven. In the process He is continuously ensuring the security of our salvation and interceding for us and all believers, just as Christ does (see Luke 22:31-32; Heb. 7:25).

We would be at an eternal loss if the Holy Spirit did not intercede for us. He understands our sinful frailties and knows that, by our own wisdom, we don’t know how to pray properly for ourselves or how to consistently maintain our walk with the Lord. This intercession is done “with groanings too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26).

Those “groanings” refer to divine communications between the Father and the Spirit that transcend any human language. They are more like sighs that can’t be put into words. That means we can’t know precisely what the Holy Spirit says when he intercedes on our behalf, but we can be certain that He is praying for us.

The Spirit’s lofty ministry of intercession reminds us again of how utterly dependent we are on Him to support us and help us with our daily discipleship. As the Christian writer A.W. Pink once said, “Only by His [the Spirit’s] strengthening of the heart are we delivered from being engrossed in the things around us, and our earthbound affections are drawn to things above.”

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God that when you are perplexed or confused and unsure how to pray, the Spirit will already be interceding for you.

For Further Study

Jesus’ most notable time of intercession for His disciples came in John 17. Read this chapter, and record the items that compose His intercessory list. How do these apply to us?

 

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