Do you have an infirmity of not knowing how to pray?
Romans 8:26 is your solution.
But sometimes you must go through a life experience first before spiritual understanding (the Holy Spirit’s understanding) comes to you.
That’s the way it happened with me this time. The experience of deep depression, major liver surgery, and fast-growing breast cancer had life lessons to teach me about authentic Christian prayer.
The same way your life experience has lessons to teach you.
To put this into context, I will give you a Scripture and show you how the Holy Spirit applied it to my own personal experience.
"In the same way, the Holy Spirit helps us in our infirmities (weaknesses)
We do not know how to pray or what we should pray for, but the Holy Spirit
prays to God for us with sounds that cannot be put into words."
The Holy Spirit teaches that prayer is God’s answer to our poverty, not a power we exercise to get an answer.
The idea for some Christians is that prayer is only an exercise of our spiritual life. “Pray without ceasing.”
Remember when the disciples said to our Lord, “Lord, teach us to pray?”
We know the disciples knew about Jewish praying, but they saw something different in how Jesus Christ prayed. Instead of thinking they could pray well, it wound up they didn't know how to pray at all. Jesus trained them in the beginning stages of prayer.
You probably remember a time before you were born again when you were “religious” and could pray fairly well; but after you were born again, you realized what Paul points out here, your utter infirmity — “I do not know how to pray.”
You became sure not only of the power God has given you by His Spirit but of your own utter infirmity.
Relying on the Holy Spirit for prayer is what Paul is bringing out in this verse, but Paul touches the thing we need to remember.
He uncovers the truth of your infirmity. The whole source of your strength is receiving, recognizing, and relying on the Holy Spirit.
After 20 years thinking I knew how to pray, I now know the source of my strength is receiving, recognizing, and relying on the Holy Spirit for each day — not just during sickness or trials.
I’ve been a Christian since 1970. So from 1970 to 2009—I thought I knew all about prayer (which would have only filled a tiny thimble) during that time.
Until. . .
Depression, major liver surgery, and fast-growing breast cancer became my school of learning of my utter infirmity (weaknesses) in my physical body. I never had to go to university I was in the school of the Holy Spirit. Anyway, no university can teach you what I’ve learned.
Yes, I had to go into a hospital and go on medicine in 1990 because I had never doctored for the depression—so when I finally went to see the doctor. I had a major chemical imbalance in my body which took over a year to stabilize.
Yes, I had a cyst in my liver as big as a basketball (I’m only 5'1) in 2009, which required major liver surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Hospital.
Yes, diagnosed with fast-growing breast cancer in 2011 I had to go through 28 rounds of chemo every other week along with radiation for three months (yes I lost my hair—it never was thick anyway, so I really liked my wig).
Yes, these were physical infirmities, but I had a bigger infirmity I didn’t know about, called the infirmity of not knowing how to pray.
Many Christians are plagued with this infirmity. That’s why the Holy Spirit will uncover this truth to you and in you. He uses everything in your life if He needs to, so you can come out of denial and say these words, “I don’t know how to pray or even what I should pray for.”
Just like experiencing my utter weakness in my physical body—I couldn’t deny it any longer, I finally said, “I don’t know how to pray or even what I should pray for.”
Finally, after all those years I was out of denial about my spiritual infirmity.
So yes, I know by personal experience that my strength in prayer comes from receiving, recognizing, and relying on the Holy Spirit.
I’m praying that the Holy Spirit would uncover your spiritual infirmity about prayer. He wants you to know by experience - that your strength in prayer comes by, recognizing and relying on the Spirit as you pray.