Spirit-Guided Praying

24 April 2022 AM – Romans 8:26-27 – Rom2022 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Having an expert help us when doing a task that we are not very good at, is a huge help. The expert knows the best, fastest, and safest way to do the task. Depending on the task, the expert will have the proper tools to do the job right.
            When it comes to praying, the Holy Spirit is the divine expert. To pray right, we need His aid, which is a huge blessing.
Transition: This morning I want us to examine three blessings of Holy Spirit-guided prayer that is available to every Christian.
The first blessing of Holy Spirit-guided prayer is that …
  1. The Holy Spirit Helps us Pray
a.         Note the words “likewise” and “also”
1)         These words point us back to what we have already learned about the Holy Spirit in this chapter. He indwells every believer (v.1-9). He helps us put to death the flesh (v.13). He adopts us into God’s family (v.15). He bears witness in us that we are saved (v.16). His presence in us is a firstfruit of heaven (v.23).
2)         Now in our text, we learn that the Holy Spirit helps us.
b.         The Spirit helps our infirmities.
1)         In Luke 10:40, we find the only other Scripture that contains this word translated “help”. Martha, Mary and Lazarus had invited Jesus to their home for a meal. While Martha wearied herself in the kitchen with the meal preparations, Mary and Lazarus sat (perhaps in the courtyard) at Jesus’ feet listening to every word He spoke.
a)         Martha was cumbered or distracted in the kitchen. This word describes someone who is dragged all around or over-occupied. She was franticly busy trying to make the meal special for Jesus. We have been there and done that.
b)         In her frustration, she interrupted Jesus with the irritated words, “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.”
c)         The word she used for “help” is the word in our text. Kenneth Wuest points out that, “The word speaks of the action of a person coming to another’s aid by taking hold over against that person, of the load he is carrying. The person helping does not take the entire load, but helps the other person in his endeavour.”
2)         The Holy Spirit does not do everything for us, but He comes to our aid to help us. He helps together with us, working by our side lifting the burden with us. Matthew Poole notes, “The word imports such help, as when another of greater strength steps in, and sustains the burden that lies too heavy upon our shoulders.” Wuest adds, “Just so, the Holy Spirit indwelling the saint, comes to the aid of that saint in his spiritual problems and difficulties, not by taking over the responsibility for them and giving the saint an automatic deliverance without any effort on his part, but by lending a helping hand, allowing him to work out his problems and overcome his difficulties, with His help.”
3)         Paul clarifies that the burden the Spirit helps us carry is that of our infirmities or weaknesses in prayer. Often we do not know how we ought (i.e., is necessary) to pray.
a)         We may not know how to pray effectively.
b)         Our heart may be so burdened that we struggle to know what to say to God.
c)         Often, we do not know God’s will as we pray. Not only can God see the beginning and the end, He also has a perfect plan that is clouded from our eyes.
4)         These are a few of our praying weaknesses, but with the Holy Spirit helping us carry the load, we can pray with confidence.
The second blessing of Holy Spirit-guided prayer is that …
2.        The Holy Spirit Intercedes for Us
a.         He is our intercessor.
1)         We fail to pray as is necessary for appropriate and effective communion with God, BUT the indwelling Holy Spirit intercedes for us.
2)         The word “intercession” means to entreat. The Holy Spirit entreats God for us.
3)         In Acts 25:24, Festus said that the Jews dealt with him or entreated him to condemn Paul. Hebrews 7:25 uses the word to describe Christ’s intercession to God for those whom He had saved from hell. It is a great blessing that the Holy Spirit is our intercessor.
b.         He intercedes where we fail.
1)         We find the word “intercession” in both v.26-27. These words come from the same root, but the first has a prefix emphasising that He entreats for things beyond our ability. Our prayer infirmities are often beyond our ability. We just do not know how to pray right, yet the Holy Spirit steps in to help us carry the load.
2)         Do not overlook the words “for us”. If you are a Christian, God assures you that the Holy Spirit is interceding for you. He does not intercede for unbelievers, but only for God’s children.
3)         The Spirit’s intercession is with groanings which cannot be uttered. One commentator described this intercession as pleading with unuttered groanings or with sighs that baffle words. (RWP) We need not concern ourselves with the meaning of these groanings, as they are the communion between God the Holy Spirit and God the Father.
4)         Do not be fooled, this has nothing to do with speaking or praying in unknown tongues.
The third blessing of Holy Spirit-guided prayer is that …
3.        The Holy Spirit Intercedes According to God’s Will
a.         God, who knows the hearts, knows the Spirit
1)         God the Father searches the hearts. David reminded his son Solomon of this. (1Chr 28:9) “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: ...
2)         Because the Holy Spirit lives in our hearts, communes with our hearts, wants the best for us, and knows what is necessary for us to pray, He effectively entreats the Father on our behalf. He will take our most clumsy prayer and put it into the right and proper communication for us.
3)         God the Father thoroughly knows the mind (i.e., thoughts) of the Holy Spirit for they are the same Being. Because they are one Being, they hide nothing from each other.
b.         He intercedes according to God
1)         So often we do not know the will of God when we pray (e.g., when we pray for the sick, for God’s intervention in a problem, or in decision-making).
2)         The Holy Spirit knows clearly the will of God, for He is God. Every time that he intercedes for us, He does so knowing the exact will of God. He prays for us according to the plan of God for our lives. That is awesome!
3)         The Holy Spirit’s intercession according to the will of God is a blessing to us if we are walking in harmony with the Spirit. However, if we have sin in our hearts (Ps 66:18), disharmony in our home (1Pe 3:7), are disobedient to God’s Word (Pr 28:9), ask selfishly (Jas 4:3), or have an unforgiving spirit (Mt 6:12-15), God’s will is to not answer us until we get right. The Holy Spirit cannot get our prayers answered for us if sin is standing in the way.
Conclusion: The Holy Spirit’s aid in prayer is a HUGE blessing. He helps us pray when we do not know how to pray. He intercedes for us. He puts our prayers into the proper form and entreats the Father on our behalf. He intercedes according to the will of God. Being God, He knows God’s will, and knows exactly how to present our petitions to the Father. He will never ask for the wrong thing.
            If there are prayer hindrances in our lives, the Holy Spirit will follow the will of God and not deliver our prayers. Thus, we need to keep our hearts right with God.
Song: Teach Me to Pray – 346