Saturday, February 15, 2014

Intercession of the Spirit?

26 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.
27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)
There are both touching and puzzling aspects to this block of scriptures.  I really like that it says “we know not what we should pray for as we ought” because it reminds me that with my limited mortal vision and my fallen nature I don’t always know what is best for myself and even if I happen to have a good idea, the things I pray for toward that aren’t always going to be the best way to obtain it.  It also reminds me that I need to be more real and less pretentious in my prayers.  God can see straight through all my pretense, so I’m not fooling him.  Why try?

I also like that it says the Spirit helps our infirmities.  I get the sense that here Paul is talking about how the Spirit can help us pray better, taking the badly uttered or poorly conceived ideas in our minds and hearts and turning them to something better.

Just when I was reading this, I thought about how my fiction writing has gone so far and I felt I needed more humor.  But I really don’t feel very funny these days. So I prayed about that.  I wasn’t sure how to pray for it. (“Make me funny”?)  But I then got some ideas about how to add in some incongruities so as to make a particular scene more absurd.

The puzzling thing about these verses is the idea of the Spirit interceding for us because doctrinally we only apply that role of intercessor to Christ.  I think the term here is used more in the sense of “translator” or “communication medium” rather than “advocate,” because it answers the question of how God can answer even our silent prayers and why the answer can be so different from what we imagine.