Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.Romans 8:26-27 RSV
There are two intercessors for the Christian:
(1) Christ at the right hand of the Majesty on High. (Hebrews 7:25)
(2) The Holy Spirit within the Christian himself.
Thus, there are two sources of encouragement open to the Christian:
(1) The blessed hope within himself.
(2) The help of the Holy Spirit.
“We know not how to pray as we ought” does not mean that Christians have no knowledge of prayer.
Our weakness and ignorance in this life are so great that in many respects, possibly as a rule, we know not what we should pray for as we ought.
We want many things, and it may be pray for them, which, were they granted, would prove our greatest rots. fortune; while, we do not want, and never ask, for many things which would be our greatest blessings.
Here then is ignorance of what we should pray for; and, as to how we should pray, I imagine we are equally at a loss.
Confessedly then, we are weak and need aid.
“With groanings that cannot be uttered” is a reference to the dimly perceived and partially understood longings of the redeemed soul which are impossible for the Christian to frame into articulated petitions to the Father, but which needs, though inadequately understood, are nevertheless understood by the Spirit of God who transfers such inexpressible yearnings of the soul to the Throne itself.
This identification of the groanings mentioned here with the believer’s inadequacy, rather than with any insufficiency of the Holy Spirit, to paraphrase:
Therefore, when the Christian’s prayers have reached the boundary of language as a vehicle for the conveyance of thought, when such prayers become more of a heavenward sigh than a formal utterance, then the Christian may know that the inward Intercessor is fully able to convey the soul’s true desire to the Throne.
The identification of the Holy Spirit in this verse indicates personality, from the consideration of his having a “mind,” and also unity with God from the consideration of his access to the Father and the absolute harmony of his actions with “the will of God.”
Particularly, it should be noted that the Spirit’s intercession is not for all, but for the saints, the latter word emphasizing that the help of the Holy Spirit is available only for them that already have the Spirit within.
People may not inquire exactly into the “how” of such things, nor as to the precise manner in which such marvelous activities on behalf of the redeemed soul are actually accomplished.
That it was from the beginning, in God’s purpose, designed that the Holy Spirit would intercede for the saved.
“The Spirit” promised in the time of the gospel, is called “the Spirit of supplications” in Zechariah 12:10