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Cannot Be Uttered

Steve Hargrave

“Likewise the Spirit helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26.

We Christians, in and of ourselves, have infirmities (feebleness, weakness) in prayer. We need help because of those infirmities.

The Spirit of God, knowing our feebleness and our human limitations, helps our weaknesses because we do not know how to pray as we ought. We know neither the direction, what to ask for, what we truly need, nor do we comprehend all of the will of God. If this were not infirmity enough, we do not know the deepest degree of effect our prayer is having on ourselves, those around us, and the
world generally.

But, “The Spirit itself” (Himself) (Greek 846 autos…the reflexive pronoun self, used [alone or in the compound 1438] of the third person, and [with the proper personal pronoun] of other persons) maketh intercession, or intercedes on our behalf.

This interceding on our behalf is done:

1) By the Spirit of God alone. “The Spirit itself maketh intercession for us.”

2) Intercession by the Spirit of God is done, “for us.” The “us” here is referring to those who are born again. We are told earlier in the same chapter under consideration, that the Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children. This same Spirit of God (there is only one), knowing we need help to live this Christian life, now assists we who are saved in our daily praying lifted up to the throne of God by interceding for us.

3) This intercession is done, “with groanings.” The primary thought in a groan is sound. A groan also conveys the thought of being loaded or weighed down. The Spirit, through a deep concern and love unfathomed, intercedes to God on our behalf for our frailties and concerns. Sometimes we may groan over our own needs and concerns, but the deepest groanings over us, the greatest bearing of the weight of our cares, is done by the Spirit. He is not limited as are we, and, knowing all things pertaining to us, is qualified to assist us.

4) The Spirit’s groanings “CANNOT be uttered.” Here we are plainly told that the groanings of the Spirit cannot be uttered. Thus we, in agreement with the scriptures, are compelled to conclude that though a groan conveys the thought of an utterance of a sound, yet the Spirit’s groanings in intercession for the saints cannot be spoken and therefore cannot be heard. On the basis of plain language of scripture, we must understand that no unintelligible “heavenly” words or language escape through the lips of the praying Christian. We are plainly told that this cannot be done.

The focus of this text is not on the Christian’s intercession in prayer, but rather on the Spirit’s intercession for the Christian in prayer. It is unnecessary for the child of God to attempt to utter what the Spirit is groaning on his behalf. The Holy Ghost, as with all of His mighty acts, does a wonderful job all by Himself!

We are not informed by this text of the Spirit of God speaking a language of heaven using the mouth of Christians. What is most certainly established here, however, is that the groanings of the Holy Ghost for the saints in prayer CANNOT be uttered. They cannot be announced, articulated, declared, divulged, exclaimed, made known, published, sounded, spoken, verbalized, voiced or whispered. If an unintelligible prayer language is true Christian doctrine, it is not verified using the text under consideration. Therefore, we must bid believers of such to move to their other “proof scriptures” to establish their belief.

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