The Soul in Paraphrase

Michael Wilcock

Read: Romans 8:26-30

The Spirit intercedes for the saints (v. 27)

To paraphrase means to say the same thing in different words. “Hear my prayer, Lord! In other words, listen to what I’m saying, and please do something about it!”

Putting the contents of my prayers through this process is a very worthwhile exercise, not because it makes it easier for God to understand what is on my heart (he already knows that perfectly well), but because it gets things clear in my own mind. It makes me think carefully about what my situation and my needs and my desires really are, and what I reckon he might want to do about them. Every so often I shall check myself and say, “No, that’s not strictly what I mean”; at other times, I shall say, “Yes, Lord, I really do mean this prayer, every word of it.” I may even say, “Now that I phrase that differently, I realize it’s rather a silly prayer; forget it, Lord!”

These verses in Romans 8 are about another, even more valuable, kind of paraphrase. How encouraging to be told that the Holy Spirit knows my needs and my desires infinitely better than I do myself. How good to know he is keenly aware how costly the fight has been to bring good out of evil (hence the “groans”). And how reassuring to realize the Spirit passes my prayers on to my Father God “in other words” that may not even be words at all, but are certainly past my understanding. —Michael Wilcock

Prayer: Father, hear my prayer as your Holy Spirit paraphrases it for me.