When Words Fail
May your unfailing love be with us,
Not long ago I sent my wife, Cari, a text message using only voice prompts. I was on my way out the door to give her a ride home from work and intended to send the words, “Where would you like me to pick you up, old gal?”
Cari doesn’t mind my calling her “old gal”—it’s one of the affectionate nicknames we use around the house. But my cell phone didn’t “understand” the phrase, and sent the words “old cow” instead.
Fortunately for me, Cari immediately understood what had happened and found it funny. She later posted my text message on social media and asked, “Should I be offended?” We were both able to laugh about it.
My wife’s loving response to my awkward words that day makes me think about God’s loving understanding of our prayers. We may not know what to say when we pray or even what to ask for, but when we belong to Christ, His Spirit within “intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26) and lovingly helps us articulate our deepest needs before Him.
Our heavenly Father doesn’t stand at a distance waiting for us to get our words right. We can come to Him with every need, assured that He understands and receives us with love.
Some of the New Testament’s most important teaching on the Holy Spirit is found in Romans 8. The Spirit is mentioned 21 times in the first 27 verses, with activities ranging from indwelling the lives of followers of Jesus (v. 9), giving us assurance of our relationship with the Father (v. 16), and helping us as we pray (as seen in today’s devotional; vv. 26–27). What a rich and wonderful gift we have received in the Holy Spirit! May we, as Paul says, “not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (v. 4).