Likewise the Spirt 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, and he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
I can do nothing... this seems like such a negative statement that should create some sense of false humility or send us to the mall to buy black clothes so that we can put on dark eye makeup and sit in a corner acting like we suck. But that's not what we are talking about here. Believing that we are children of the King negates the idea of us being piles of suck, and points us to another truth. As "children" we are needy, but okay with it. My son doesn't have a problem asking me to help wipe his rear or help him put his clothes on. Sometimes he even comes to me crying and having no idea why the tears are flowing except that there is something wrong and that Daddy will know what to do to make it better. It is his role to need and my role to care for his needs and love him.
Romans 8:26 says that we don't even know what to pray for... this sounds like a helpless place, and would be such if it were not for the Spirit. Look at the wording here, "He who searches hearts know what is the mind of the Spirit..." So, while God is searching our hearts, he is also looking at the spirit who is living in our hearts and whose mind exists in our hearts. Here is where the helplessness stops! For believers, the Spirit is already in our hearts, interceding for us and guiding us, because this is what God wants the Spirit to do. So the truth is that we can do nothing that God will see as having any merit in His plan for our lives or this world, apart from the Spirit that lives inside us. Therefore, it is exciting not to know what to pray for! It is awesome to go to God the way my son approaches me, full knowing that something needs to happen, but we are not sure what... and it is okay. I know that I am not living up to what the Bible lays out as guidelines for my life, and every time I try to fix it, I just end up reverting to my old ways. Maybe it is because I am not trusting the Spirit that is living in my heart to reveal to me what my prayers should be. Maybe it is because I am trying to fix what isn't broken or to change what doesn't need changing. Maybe a more honest prayer would be for me to ask for what is on my heart and to also be okay with the idea that I could be praying for the wrong thing. Maybe I need to be going to God from a place where my heart is troubled, but I don't know what to do about it, instead of giving him direction. If the spirit is there already, let him do the work!
This week, make part of your prayer time a statement that you don't know what God needs to do, but all you know is that you need him, and let the spirit do the talking.