Romans 8:26 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. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. ESV
Sometimes the impact of a few words in the Word can become a lightbulb moment. That happened with those few highlighted words from Romans 8:26. The Lord has been using the Word and my own words each time I write a blog post to refine me during this time while the entirety of my life has been re-defined. I am no longer part of a couple, I am a widow. “The Spirit helps us in our weakness” has become my new awareness that in the faith the Lord has given me there is a powerful relationship between weakness and prayer.
My concept of praying as a strength has been revealed for the flawed idea it is. “For we do not know what to pray for as we ought.” I know my prayers have changed because what my heart needs to pray in this time has coincided with the awareness of my own weakness. For the first time I emotionally understand Paul’s comment about his weakness being his strength. I’ve experienced “groanings too deep for words.” My own words of prayer have mostly seemed weak to my ears. But somehow the “mind of the Spirit” heard those words that were spilled out in tear-filled broken phrases and translated that weakness “according to the will of God” into a different reality for me.
I’ve become aware that the power of prayer doesn’t depend on the strength of my words to provide the answers I need to endure anything more than confessing my own weakness. Just a couple nights ago I found myself needing to confess I had once again flunked trusting the faith I write and speak of. That’s when I realized weakness and prayer ARE the “odd couple” the Spirit of God uses to remind me the reality of Jesus’s strength IS my faith. What I am able to ask of Him in weakness, the Spirit of God can use to reveal deep truth to me: a broken and fearful heart still has life. Life is good because Jesus said so. His promises still hold true as long as His life is in my body. “He who searches hearts knows” my weakness and my fumbling prayers are the gift of my heart and He responds “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in [your] weakness.a“ That’s a passing grade I can live with.
a 2 Corinthians 12:9