The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
Ever wish there was a special word to describe a special something you have experienced, but you’re frustrated that there is no word for it? Check out a book written by Ella Sanders. The title of the book is Lost in Translation. In her book, Sanders compiles a list of words from other languages that capture certain moments from everyday life that the English language does not.
For instance, there’s a Hawaiian word for listening to a bunch of directions from someone and then walking off and promptly forgetting them. There’s an Italian word for a scene in a story that moves you to tears. There’s a Welsh word that describes the homesickness and grief for the lost places of your past. There’s a Japanese word for gazing vacantly into the distance without really thinking about anything specific.
In the language of Farsi, there is a word for the twinkle you have in your eye when you first meet someone you’ve eagerly wanted to meet. In Sweden, there is a word for the extended, compelling conversations you can have with friends over coffee and pastries. The Inuit people have a word for repeatedly going outside your door to see if someone is coming. With one word, the Norwegians can describe the euphoria when you first begin to fall in love. And in the Pakistani language of Urdu, there is a word to describe how you feel when you know that those around you love you without condition.
But here’s the thing. Even if we mastered every language on earth, there are moments when we would still be at a loss for words. This is especially true when it comes to certain moments when we talk to our Lord in prayer.
There are times in life when the crisis is so great, the confusion is so heavy, the exhaustion is so deep, the sorrow and fear seem so mountainous that we cannot find the words. We just cannot find the words to articulate to our Lord what is going on in our lives.
But that’s all right. That’s all right because, when those times come, the Holy Spirit promises to speak on our behalf. He promises to speak on our behalf “with groans that words cannot express.”
And that’s the kind of Savior-God we have. Not only has he washed away our sins at Calvary’s cross; not only has he covered us in the holiness of his Son, he even takes over for us when our needs go beyond words.
Holy Spirit, you know my needs, and you know me. In those moments when the words do not come, speak on my behalf. Amen.