There’s more than few right answers to that question. But the answer that is most encouraging? The Holy Spirit!
Why does he pray for us?
In short, because we are weak, and because we are often without words.
After reading Romans 8 recently, I was so grateful for the fact that God the Holy Spirit knows both of these things are true of us and intercedes appropriately. You see, we are groaning and waiting for our final adoption as sons (vss. 18-25), and this groaning and waiting is termed weakness. And this weakness is sometimes so pervasive that it leaves us wordless, unable to even know how to pray (vs. 26).
Isn’t that so true? We endure many “sufferings of this present time” (vs. 18) that leave us speechless, don’t we? Situations that take our breath—and our words—away. Times when our weakness is revealed starkly and plainly, and we wonder what God is doing, how to talk about it with him, yet alone others, and what’s going to become of the things that seem to be pressing in so heavily on us.
Will we hold up?
How will this end?
What’s going to happen?
Without a doubt there are times we simply don’t have the words to describe the weakness we sense.
Here’s a promise to stand on today: That’s the exact moment God the Holy Spirit prays for you. He is never wordless or weak. He knows precisely what’s in our hearts, and he knows perfectly the Father’s will (vs. 27). So he prays for us precisely and perfectly.
This theological truth shows us prayer is more than words, Yes, it is words for sure; Jesus taught us that in his model prayer. But it isn’t just words. It is being in the presence of our Father in all our vulnerability and weakness, in full transparency, yet with full confidence. It’s approaching his throne without shame even if in the moment we can hardly speak a syllable. Boldness to come to God can still be exhibited in silence before God; they are not mutually exclusive.
So when you pray, yes, use words. But when words fail you, stay put in the posture of prayer. For someone else is praying for you right then in precise and perfect ways—the Holy Spirit.