26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:26-28)
These are strange times that we are currently living in. In a matter of a couple of weeks, life has changed drastically for everyone. We are restricted in our movements, told not to gather with people who are not part of our household. We have seen schools and businesses shut down and people told to stay home. We have seen sports leagues voluntarily shut down their seasons. We face the possibility of losing jobs or losing houses with the loss of income that has come from businesses closing. We have seen things that many of us thought that we would never see in our lifetimes.
And in the midst of all of these things, maybe you’re not sure how to pray or what to say when you pray. Paul tells us that is fine, as long as we are praying. Paul doesn’t tell the Romans to pray because he assumes that they are praying. Instead, he encourages them that when they pray, yet don’t know how to pray, the Holy Spirit will “intercede for us through wordless groans”.
Maybe you don’t know what to pray for or how to pray during this unusual time. Maybe you don’t know if you should pray for God perform a miracle and wipe out COVID-19 altogether. Maybe you don’t know if you should pray for God to heal all of the people who are sick. Maybe you don’t know if you should pray for God to keep you and your loved ones safe. Whatever the case may be, do not let your uncertainty about how to pray stop you from praying, because when we don’t know how to pray, the Holy Spirit will intercede on our behalf.
And for all the craziness that is currently going on all around us, Paul reminds us “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Not only can we find hope in Paul’s words, but we can already see it. I’ve also seen something else that I never thought I would, the national news broadcasting a Christian and a Jewish Rabbi praying together. A country that had pretty much turned their back on the one true living God is now broadcasting prayers on the evening news. If that isn’t God working for the good of those who love him, I don’t know what it.
While we may not know what lies ahead, how long life will be like this or even if things will ever return to “normal”, we can be confident that God is with us through it all and that God is working through it all. So keep praying especially when you don’t know how to pray, because that gives us an opportunity to see God at work in us as well.