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Excerpt from sermon #297


“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. 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 thoughts and desires in the heart for which there are no words to give vent. What words can express the desires and feelings of the heart when one is bereaved of a loved one? How would you put in words what is in the heart when you stand over the coffin of a loved one? There are no words, yet the heart can melt and flow before the Lord. There are times when there just are no words, but again, a silent prayer and a silent meditation is a well-pleasing sacrifice before the Lord, because the Lord is reading the heart with groanings that cannot be uttered. The Holy Spirit conveys the message.

So much the more in grace. Oh, what words could express the remorse over past sins? I want to explain to you something. When you remember sins from your youth, your heart can groan with such remorse over being such a fool, over having sinned so grievously against the Lord. What words do you use to express that? You see what a price our Saviour had to pay. You see the finger of the Father’s justice writing every one of those sins in His bloody sweat in the Garden of Gethsemane. There are no words, but there is remorse that words cannot express. Then the Holy Spirit intercedes with groanings that cannot be uttered. So much the more it is in grace.

What words could express the cravings in the soul for a token of God’s favor? When the Holy Spirit has truly convicted our hearts over our sins of youth, and over our past, we have no words to express that hungering desire for the Holy Spirit to give us a revelation of the love of Christ, a revelation of that preciousness of a bleeding, dying Saviour.

Our text says, “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.”

Our human reasoning has no understanding of what we should pray for. The Apostle Paul prayed that the messenger of Satan would be removed, but the Lord told him: Do not pray for that. It will not happen. My grace is sufficient for you.

The words cannot and uttered are both taken from the same word in the original, which means “inexpressible unspeakable, unutterable, which cannot be uttered.” There are no words to express it.

When the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered, He carries forth the desires of the heart in a spirit that human vocabulary has no words to cover.

I want to use a scriptural illustration for this. We see this when Hannah prayed in the depth of her soul, yet not a single word came from her lips. Read this with me in 1 Samuel 1:12-16, “And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD. Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.”

She poured out her heart to the Lord. She spoke in her heart words that could not be uttered.  Amen.

May we mourn with those that mourn;
Make each other’s cause our own;
Ever keeping this in mind,
We are to each other joined.

Flesh of flesh, and bone of bone,
With the King of glory one;
Of one body each a part,
Jesus, make us one in heart.

Gadsby selection, 1838

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