When My Words Fall Short

Have you ever run out of words while praying about something or for someone, where you do not know how to articulate what is in your heart, because your mind and emotions are unsettled and in turmoil? I have. What am I to do when my words fall short, and my faith feels weak?

The Holy Spirit reminded me of the Scripture passage in Romans 8:26-27 one night, as I lay awake, because my mind was trying to make sense of something that was causing me to feel troubled, and the prayer I was praying felt weak and full of desperation, rather than full of faith. Romans 8:26 says that the Holy Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness. Another translation says He “helps us”. The word used in the Greek is “synantilambanetai” which means “helps as we help one that would lift up a burden, by lifting over against him at the other end.” What a beautiful image to explain what the Holy Spirit comes to do for us!

Sometimes ‘we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought’, but when we do not have the language to express our pain, anxiety and desperation, or to know how we need to bring our request to God in prayer, the Holy Spirit ‘goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance’ (verse 26). As I pondered this, I was reminded of God’s great love and tender mercies towards me as His daughter. When I come to the end of myself, and my own resources to try and process a situation, His Holy Spirit comes running to meet my supplication and pleads in my behalf.

Ephesians 6:18 encourages us to ‘Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion’. This scripture forms part of Paul’s teaching about the armour of God – the manner in which we are to arm ourselves to deal with our enemy whose mandate it is to steal, kill and destroy. When we pray in the Spirit, our minds and emotions are brought to a place of peace, as we trust the Holy Spirit to intercede for us, according to God’s perfect will. When you bring all your anxieties and concerns to God in prayer, Philippians 4:7 (AMP) promises that ‘the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]’.

While we are alive on this earth, we will face times of turmoil from within and without. This may be very overwhelming at times, but as we pour out our hearts before God, we can know without a doubt that the Holy Spirit ‘does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves…and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good’ (Romans 8:26-28, MSG).

Prayer: Thank You, Holy Spirit, that You are my Helper and Counsellor. Thank You that You intercede for me when I struggle to pray and lack the words to express myself to You. Thank You for Your comfort and compassion towards me as Your child, and for bearing me up in times of weakness. I love You, Lord. Amen.


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So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance.”
Romans 8:26, AMP


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Today's Writer

Christel Baxter joined the Associate prayer ministry team at Shere House, S.Africa in 2008 after attending the 20 day school. Besides serving together on the associate team at Shere House, Christel & her husband, Gary, pastor New Life Ministries, a congregation in Boksburg, Gauteng. Their children, Liezl and Wesley, are both married, and they adore their son-in-law and daughter-in-law and their little granddaughter, Hannah! Christel is passionate about seeing broken lives restored and especially loves ministering God`s love and healing to women of all ages.

Christel Baxter

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