“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27.
When you talk with some Christians, you are reminded of the paralytic that Jesus met by the Pool of Bethesda. When Jesus asked if he wanted to be made well, his response was “Sir … I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” (John 5:7 NIV). This man felt helpless for 38 years! No Christian should see himself like this man because we have a Resident Helper, the Holy Spirit.
The disciples were understandably worried as Jesus began to talk to them about His departure. Jesus had been everything to them. When they were hungry, He fed them; when they were afraid, He calmed their fears; when they were challenged, He defended them; when they were threatened, He protected them. Seeing their fears, Jesus spoke to reassure them, “I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, desolate, bereaved, forlorn, helpless]; I will come [back] to you.” (John 14:18 AMP). Jesus was saying that He would not leave them orphaned, that is, abandoned, unprotected, helpless. He promised to send them another just like Himself. “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.” (John 14:16).
There are two Greek words translated as ‘another’ in the New Testament. One is Allos, which means ‘another of the same kind;’ the other is Heteros, which means ‘another of a different kind.’ Everywhere Jesus spoke about the Holy Spirit in the Book of John He used ‘Allos’. Thus, Jesus was saying to His disciples that the Holy Spirit would be just like Himself. The way He had been with them was the same way the Holy Spirit would be with them.
The word translated ‘Helper’ is the Greek word Parakletos, which means ‘One who is called to another’s side to help him.’ The Amplified Version gives the nuances of parakletos: “But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.” (Jn 14:26 AMP).
OUR HELPER IN PRAYER
We are again told that the Holy Spirit helps us in prayer. “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27). The word translated ‘help’ here literally means “to take hold against together with.” The Holy Spirit helps by taking hold together with us against our infirmities and all manner of weaknesses.
To understand this text, one needs to know the historical background. During the period of the Early Church, the Jews faced a dilemma concerning the Roman legal system. Many of them neither understood the Roman language nor the Roman law. It was a huge challenge when they had to appear before the Roman courts. So, they needed experts who knew the language and the law to help them. They were called ‘advocates.’ Paul probably had this in mind when he wrote this scripture. Believers also face a similar challenge. We often do not know how and what to pray for. The Holy Spirit understands the language of heaven and the will of God. He helps us with the right prayer language and prays the will of God through us. He makes intercession for us according to the will of God.
ALONGSIDE TO HELP
The Holy Spirit wants to take hold together with us against any situation that confronts us by adding His strength to ours. He gives us the ability to exceed our ability (Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit was not sent to do the work for us, He came to help us do it. Imagine that someone has fallen into a well and is not able to come out. He is making efforts to come out but does not have the strength and strategy to get out of the well. Someone who has the wherewithal comes along with a helpline to the person. He grabs the rope and climbs out of the well. He does not just sit down there and whine, he is ready to take the help that is offered and come to freedom.
It is important to note that the Holy Spirit helps us in prayer. We do not relax and say, “the Holy Spirit is doing all the praying for me.” We cannot be passive. If He prompts you to pray and you fail to respond there is nothing He can do. God had said “… My Spirit shall not always strive with man…” (Genesis 6:3). Let us say there’s trouble and the Holy Spirit comes to help you pray concerning it. He is nudging you to pray but you are too busy to even pay attention. After a while, He allows you with your ‘busyness’ but something might go wrong. Unfortunately, we turn around to blame Him. But He was ready to help, only that you did not respond to Him.
We would never know how many situations could have turned out differently if only we yielded to the Holy Spirit when He wanted us to pray. That is why it should be the policy of every Believer to respond to every nudge to pray, whether it is convenient or not, no matter how brief it may be. That momentary prayer can be what the Holy Spirit needs to save a situation.
It appears that many Christians have not optimised the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. He wants to help us in every area, especially in our prayer life. I remember how prayer was such a struggle for me as a young Christian. When people talked about how they prayed for an hour or more it seemed like a fairy tale to me. I would make up my mind that I was really going to spend time in prayer but when I checked the time, I would realise that I had only been praying for 10 minutes. I just could not break the 10-minute ceiling! All that changed after I was baptised with the Holy Spirit. I found out that with the enabling of the Holy Spirit I could spend much longer time in prayer.
HELP AGAINST INFIRMITIES
The Holy Spirit also wants to take hold together with us against our infirmities. There are times when we sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in a special way in a meeting. That’s what is often referred to as the anointing. Whenever we feel His presence, it is an indication that His power is present. We read in Luke 5:17, “Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them.” The power of God was present to heal them. When you feel Him upon you in a special way, He has come to help. That is the time to yield to Him, that is the time to release your faith for healing.
A lady was in a meeting and felt the Holy Spirit’s presence upon her in a special way. She passionately prayed, “Lord, if what I feel now is your presence then let the yoke of barrenness be broken off of my life!” This lady had no child and had been married for a long time. Within a year, God blessed her with a baby and she subsequently had other children. The Holy Spirit came to help and she optimised His presence. How many times have you felt a similar presence in a meeting but did nothing about it? If we all knew how to maximise His presence in our meetings, we would almost always have healings every time we meet.
It is gratifying to know that the Holy Spirit has come to help us in every way and in everything. Unfortunately, we have limited His activities only in the matters of ministry and church. We can draw from His help in every area of our endeavour. Those who are in the marketplace would be amazed by the difference the Holy Spirit can make in their business or professional activities.
When Moses was receiving instructions concerning the construction of the Tabernacle, God identified artisans who were to handle the complex work. They may have had some talent and training but that would not be enough to handle the intricate work of the Tabernacle. “And Moses said to the children of Israel, “See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 31 and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship, 32 to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze, 33 in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship.” (Exodus 35:30-33). God even gave Bezalel the ability to teach others who were to work with him.
As Zerubabbel battled with discouragement because of the daunting task of constructing the second Temple, God spoke to reassure him: “So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6). The consequence of the Spirit’s help would be that when the Temple was completed, no one would take credit for it but rather attribute it to grace. The Spirit’s help is available even in the ordinary things of life.
The Holy Spirit can enable an ordinary person to accomplish extraordinary feats. The unique thing about this dispensation is that the Holy Spirit is not living outside of the Believer but inside. Therefore, no child of God is helpless or disadvantaged. We have a Resident Helper.