by Dr. Jack Hyles
Romans 8:26-28, “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 the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.”
Two of the most important things that the young Christian has to learn are (1) how to get things from God, and (2) how to share with others and give to others what God gives.
It should be remembered that in the Bible, prayer is asking. Prayer is not praise; it is asking. Prayer is not thanksgiving; it is asking. Prayer is not adoration; it is asking. This discussion will deal with the Holy Spirit, our prayer partner, Who joins with us in our prayer life.
1. The Holy Spirit intercedes with us.
Romans 8:26, “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.” The word “intercession” in verse 26 is not the same word that is translated “intercession” in verse 27. In verse 26 the word means that the Holy Spirit goes WITH us to the Father to help us plead for our needs and, yes, for our wants. There are several aspects: (1) I don’t know what I need. (2) The Holy Spirit DOES know what I need. (3) I go to Him, that is, the Holy Spirit, to find my needs. (4) He tells me what my needs are. (5) I make a list of the things He reminds me. (6) I then go the Father. (7) He goes with me.
After I have been to the Holy Spirit with pen and paper in hand to inquire of Him what my needs are, and after I have made a list of them, I then go to the Father with the needs that the Holy Spirit has given me. Then, praise, God, the Holy Spirit goes with me to the Father. He knows the Father better than I, and He knows me perhaps better than the Father, so what a better Person could I have to go with me to the Father when I present my petitions than the Holy Spirit Who led me in making my petitions.
Now for an illustration. Before I go to the Father, I ask the Holy Spirit what I need. Let’s suppose, for example, I go to the Holy Spirit and say, “Holy Spirit, I would like to have a cashmere coat with a mink collar. What do You think?” The Holy Spirit says, “Now I do think you need a new coat, but you could sure get along without a cashmere coat and you certainly don’t need a mink collar.” So the Holy Spirit leads me to ask for a coat. I then ask the Holy Spirit, “I would like a mink hat.” The Holy Spirit reminds me that I perhaps could use a hat, but mink would be too extravagant. I then suggest to the Holy Spirit that He and I go to the Father and ask for a new $500 suit of clothes. The Holy Spirit reminds me that I do need a new suit, but not a $500 suit.
So I make my list: a new coat, a new hat and a new suit. The Holy Spirit has led me. After He has led me and after I have written down what I believe the Holy Spirit wants me to ask the Father, I ask the Holy Spirit to go to the Father. This He does as my petitions are presented to the Heavenly Father, as I pray in and with the Holy Spirit.
Note Ephesians 2:18, “For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Note the word “both.” We find then that we pray TO the Father THROUGH the Son WITH the Spirit. Our access to the Father is through the Son. Our prayer partner when we go to the Father is the Holy Spirit.
Now notice Matthew 18:19, “Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything on earth, it shall be done for them. The word “agree” is the word from which we get our word “symphony” or “harmony.” When we are in tune with the Holy Spirit or when we harmonize with the Holy Spirit, we can present our petition to the Father. Not only can we present them to the Father, but the Holy Spirit will accompany us as we appear at the throne of grace.
Now notice Acts 15:28, “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things.” Ah, these are beautiful words: “It seemed good to the Holy Ghost, AND TO US.” Notice the agreement there. There was a fellowship between the Holy Spirit and the apostles. They had communed with the Holy Spirit and there was a harmony between them.
There is another way that the Holy Spirit helps us when we pray. Just as He talks to the sinner as I talk to the sinner, He also talks to the Father as I talk to the Father. He has helped me make up my prayer list. I have taken the prayer list that He has led me to make and brought it before the Father. The Holy Spirit went with me as I went to the Father and now, praise the Lord, He talks to the Father as I talk to the Father. I say, “Father, give me a new coat.” The Holy Spirit says, “Yes, Father, he does need a new coat. He and I have talked about it.” I say, “Father, give me a new hat.” The Holy Spirit says, Father, I believe he needs a new hat. We have talked about this too.” I ask, “Father, give me a new suit.” The Holy Spirit says, “Father, I do believe he needs a new suit. He and I have talked about this before coming to You.”
In summary and in practicality, let’s review. It is time for me to pray; that is, to ask God for some things. I bow to my knee and talk to the Holy Spirit. I tell Him what I think I need. He impresses me concerning my needs. He leads me to make a prayer list of things for which I am to ask the Father. Then I go to the Father in prayer. The dear Holy Spirit accompanies me. He leads me as I talk to the Father and then He talks to the Father with me, reminding the Father that we have talked together before coming to present the petitions.
Then I can claim Psalm 37:4, “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Then I can claim John 15:7, “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” There is a way that the Christian can walk in the Spirit in such a way that the Lord will almost give him power of attorney. He will almost give the Christian a blank check because as we walk in the Sprit, with the Spirit and through the Spirit, our wants become much like the wants of God, our delights become His delights, our desires become His desires.
2. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us concerning things for which we do not ask.
See Romans 8:27. The word “intercession” here does not imply the Holy Spirit meeting with us to plead. This is the Holy Spirit coming before God for us on our behalf. Here He tells God about the needs for which we forgot to ask. He tells the Father our needs even when we forget them. Suppose, for example, that I prayed to the Father for the aforementioned “coat and suit,” but I forgot the hat. I say, “Father, please give me a new coat and please give me a new suit.” The Holy Spirit says, “Father, he needs a new hat too.” You see, he is interceding FOR me just as He previously interceded WITH me.
There are some things that I need that I do not know that I need. There are some things I forget when I come to the Father. The Holy Spirit knows my needs. Some of these may not be things that I myself would choose, but He knows what they are, and so He intercedes before the Father to give me the things that I need. I may want all sunshiny days, but He may know I need a cloudy day. I may want all victories, but He may know that I need a defeat. I may want all smiles, but He may know that I need some tears. This is where Romans 8:28 comes in. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.”
Years ago I was preaching in a big tent in Jacksonville, Florida. After the crowd had dispersed one night, I was kneeling at the altar praying. I thought I was alone. An old preacher walked up beside me and asked if he could pray with me. Of course, I was delighted to have him join me in prayer. He prayed aloud: “Dear Lord, I hate baking powder.” I could not believe what I heard. Then he prayed, “Dear Lord, I hate flour.” I could not believe what I was hearing. Through tears he said, “Dear Lord, I hate baking soda.” Then he prayed, “Dear Lord, I hate salt.” He continued to list several things that he hated, and the more he prayed the louder he got. Then a smile came across his face as his voice continued heavenward. “But, dear Lord, ” he said, “put together all those things I hate, stir them up, put them in the oven and cook them, and I sure do love hot biscuits!”
That is the best explanation of Romans 8:28 that I have ever heard. Thank God that the Holy Spirit knows what I need and makes intercession for me.
Now in review, dear Christian, the next time you come to God in prayer concerning your needs, first talk to the Holy Spirit. Speak something like this, “Dear Holy Spirit, I have a pen and paper in hand, and I’m on my way to the Father to present my needs. Would You help me make out my prayer list?” Tell Him what you want to ask from the Father. Ask Him what He thinks about it. Then ask Him to impress you about other things for which you should ask. Once you have completed your prayer list, as led by the Holy Spirit, then come the Heavenly Father, asking the Holy Spirit to appear with you before the throne of grace. Then pray in the Spirit to the Father, trusting the Holy Spirit to help you convince the Father of what you and He have decided to request. Be grateful that the Holy Spirit will work on your behalf. Realize that those things for which you forget to ask, He will not forget to mention to the Father. For those things that you do not even know you need, ask the Holy Spirit to petition the Father if He thinks best.
by Jack Hyles