26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
When We do not know what we ought to pray for, we should pray anyway and let the Spirit Himself intercede! This is not unlike 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 which says
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
And it is because of Christ Jesus we have the Holy Spirit available to intercede for us.
That is simply the preparatory remark for the next verse with the declaration He who searches our hearts know the mind of the Spirit. Two things to take away here. Number one is God is the one who searches our hearts! He searches and He knows what is in our hearts. He cannot be deceived even though we may deceive ourselves. This is a truth we should always hold close to help us avoid self-deception knowing God knows the truth about what is in our hearts. Number two take away is that when we literally do not know what to pray for the Spirit will intercede and have us pray for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
When we pray for others under these circumstances, it is not simply our intercessory prayer, but the Spirit’s leading of such prayer for others. Our prayers for intersession are already known and heard by God, but when the Spirit leads such prayer then our prayers fall into line with the will of God.
Sometimes we are simply hurting or at a loss because a loved one is hurting and we want God to do a miracle, to make things all better. Often times that is not God’s will, but we should be praying nonetheless and asking for God’s will to be done and to give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
We may not like what comes our way, but if we remain in prayer we can know we are in God’s will and that in itself will be enough. Not necessarily easy, but bearable and enough. Barnes’ Notes on the Bible says
That man is most safe who yields himself most entirely to the influence of the Holy Spirit. And the doctrine here stated is one that is full of consolation to the Christian. We are poor, and needy, and ignorant, and blind; we are the creatures of a day, and are crushed before the moth. But in the midst of our feebleness we may look to God for the aid of His Spirit, and rejoice in His presence, and in His power to sustain us in our sighings, and to guide us in our wanderings.
So let us choose to pray and when We do not know what we ought to pray for let the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans if necessary.