Likewise the Spirit also 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.
Note 1 at Ro 8:26: The word "likewise" is stressing that in the same way that hope helps us endure until the redemption of our bodies (Ro 8:23), so the Holy Spirit helps us through the frailties of our flesh by interceding for us.
Note 2 at Ro 8:26: The word "helpeth" was translated from the Greek word "SUNANTILAMBANOMAI," and it means "to take hold of opposite together, i.e. co-operate (assist)" (Strong's Concordance). It describes a union, not the Holy Spirit doing all the interceding for us. The Holy Spirit helps us as we are interceding, but He doesn't automatically do it for us.
Note 3 at Ro 8:26: The Greek word that was translated "infirmities" in this verse is "ASTHENEIA," and it means "feebleness (of mind or body); by implication, malady; morally, frailty" (Strong's Concordance). This same word was translated "weakness" five times (1Co 2:3, 15:43; 2Co 12:9, 13:4; and Heb 11:34), so it is easy to see that this word is describing mental and moral weakness, not sickness.
Paul went on to describe what these infirmities are when he said, "For we know not what we should pray for as we ought." The infirmities this scripture is speaking of are the weaknesses that come from not knowing how we should pray.
Note 4 at Ro 8:26: This has been an encouraging scripture for countless believers. It is certain that none of us knows exactly how to pray in every situation. Therefore, it is very comforting to know that the Holy Spirit is there to help us. However, as mentioned in note 2 at this verse, He helps us; He doesn't do the interceding for us but through us.
Even Jesus drew on this ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is written in Joh 11:33 and 38 that Jesus groaned in the Spirit twice when He raised Lazarus from the dead. What infirmity did Jesus have that He needed this ministry of the Holy Spirit? Jesus had no sin, but He did have an infirmity--His physical mind. Even a sinless human mind could not comprehend raising a man from the grave after four days.
If Jesus needed the Holy Spirit to help Him when He didn't know how to pray, then certainly this should be an important ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Note 5 at Ro 8:26: This intercession of the Holy Spirit is with "groanings which cannot be uttered." Some Spirit-filled Christians have said that this means groaning that cannot be uttered in our normal speech and therefore have said this is referring to speaking in tongues (see note 13 at Mr 16:17 and note 9 at Ac 2:4). Yet this is referring to an intercession that is different from speaking in tongues.
In Joh 11:33 and 38, Jesus groaned in the Spirit twice. This is the exact terminology that is used here in Ro 8:26, and in Joh 11, it is easy to see that no words were uttered. It was exactly as the Scripture states, a groaning in the Spirit.
All those who have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit have or will have this happen to them. Paul was referring to this in Ga 4:19 when he spoke of travailing in birth for the Galatians. As explained in note 16 at Joh 11:33, this groaning of the Holy Spirit is not just of grief but a groan of anger and resistance against Satan's devices in people's lives. Many times Christians don't discern this, because they think they are the only ones grieved with their situations. But this is the Holy Spirit desiring to get into intercession with people against their problems.
Although the groaning is unutterable, it can be discerned, and many times people react to this with audible groans or other outward acts. This has led to religious doctrines and traditions that are offensive to many people and are unscriptural. There is nothing wrong with people reacting to the inner working of the Holy Spirit as long as they don't confuse their reactions with the Holy Spirit's actions. This intercession cannot be uttered.
Any counterfeits that religion may have produced only serve to illustrate that there has to be a genuine. The genuine groaning in the Spirit is priceless.
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