“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
– Romans 8:26
The deepest trials we experience as human beings can sometimes leave us at a loss for words. The trauma can be overwhelming. We might not know what relief to ask God for.
In today’s verse, the apostle Paul is reminding us that the Holy Spirit and the will of God, which exceeds all human understanding, knows the needs of the entire world. The Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf according to the will of God.
The will of God is a key point here. Sometimes nonbelievers or those who don’t truly understand the role of God’s will in Scripture, criticize God for allowing bad things to happen. But God allows human beings to have free will and sometimes people do bad things.
What happens here on Earth is not the end-all. There is another life beyond this one. That is the life that truly matters most. Evil that occurs here will not go on judged nor unpunished. We need to remember that the God that created all is in charge and has an ultimate plan.
Bad things happen on Earth because Satan is in charge of this world. God has given Satan a certain amount of free reign. Jesus himself called Satan “the prince of this world.”
Jesus during his temptation by Satan was offered all the kingdoms of the world if He would worship the devil. But Jesus never argued with Satan about his authority on Earth. Jesus only argued with the devil over who should be worshiped – and that is God, not Satan.
Prayer shaming: An ugly practice is emerging
After horrific events of evil or tragedy, people are so stunned they often don’t know what to do. One of the first reactions is to offer “thoughts and prayers.”
But there is a growing antagonism towards people who make such statements, who are being shamed and ridiculed for offering prayers for the victims.
Not only are we seeing it after the El Paso and Dayton shootings, but it reared its ugly head after the San Bernardino, California mass shooting in 2015.
When you think about it… That’s exactly what Satan wants. The only power we human beings have against Satan is prayer. Prayer is the “armor of God” that gives us strength against spiritual warfare. If we stop praying, it’s literally like unlocking our doors for the devil.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
– Ephesians 6:12
Prayers our only defense against evil
As today’s verse (Romans 8:26) indicates, when we feel helpless and don’t know what to pray for, we simply pray to the Holy Spirit that God’s will be done.
Jesus taught: “your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8b)
Jesus taught the disciples how to pray along the lines of God’s will saying:
“So then, this is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.'”
– Matthew 6:9-10
Jesus also taught that we should pray for protection against temptation:
“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
– Matthew 26:41
Clearly, it is an evil temptation that leads human beings to engage in such acts as the horrific shootings that are becoming more commonplace.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’”
– Matthew 6:13
That way another way, this verse means that we should pray to God: “Don’t allow us to be tempted. Instead, rescue us from the evil one.”
In a world growing increasingly evil, Bible verses protection and prayers are our only defense.