Devotional Diary: “Wordless Groans” Romans 8:26-27

I was looking for a movie to watch while I exercised, and came across “The Passion of the Christ” and thought it would be a good one to watch. I haven’t seen it since it came out and fresh from Easter celebrations, I thought to myself, “This would be good for me.  I need another reminder…” 

I quickly came to realize the pain and torture that erupted so violently before my eyes and in my soul, while watching the massacre of my beloved Christ and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I turned it off and went upstairs for a respite. I brought up some weights and with trembling hands decided to see what I had on the DVR to watch, in hopes to distract me from the resonating pain of Christ’s crucifixion.

I clicked on 60 minutes thinking this would be worthwhile to watch. This particular episode was a long interview with the grieving Sandy Hook parents. I watched, and drew in closer to the TV slowly putting my weights down… as I succumbed to the suffering they exuded; I felt the darkness slip into my heart.  The Boston tragedy had just happened, and I couldn’t take the trauma of more agony and pain. I turned it off. And sat in silence. I had no words to pray. No words can possibly adequately describe the heavy burden of loss. Of trauma. Of fear. Of an aching that is so deep, it penetrates every piece of who you are.

I was so lost in their helplessness and hopelessness, all I wanted to do was pray for them. And yet? I couldn’t find the words to pray. I was so deeply traumatized by their pain, that I simply had no words of prayer to offer, except “Help them, Lord. Help them.”

And yet, I kept thinking of this…

Romans 8:26-27 (NIV)

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.

“Wordless groans”…

I kept thinking of this. His word tells us that the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  When we don’t have words… because the pain is too great for words…the Spirit intercedes on our behalf….

He knows.

So I sat in silence. I couldn’t put into words what this grief and horror could possibly feel like for all the victims of such heinous evil. There are no words. Not for this.

And when the pain is so deep that words can’t describe it, when the emotion is too intense for our human mind to process…

The Spirit will moan for us… and pray for us on our behalf.

Oh, how I love this.  I pray that the Spirit moans for every single soul attacked by evil… I pray that I can grieve for these precious people struck by horror…in hopes that if I can sacrifice even one bit of suffering for them in my heart and carry a tiny bit of their burden…they will have less in theirs.

Lord, let me bear their pain. Give me a piece of their weight to carry in my own trembling arms. May I please? Let me hold it close and mourn for them, in a desperate plea to carry them for just one moment.

And I will give it all to you. Without words. For your Spirit will moan in my suffering.

Your spirit will intercede for them. For me. For all.

That is my prayer.

Wordless Groans Romans 8:26-27


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  1. says

    This is beautiful, Christine. And it’s a great reminder for those of us who have had a difficult time processing these tragedies, that we don’t have to have words and that not having words does not mean we are not grieving, and also that we can rely on a power greater than ourselves to help us grieve when we can not find the adequate words.

  2. says

    As I read your post, I remember watching in horror, that part of the movie. Thank you for giving me another point to ponder. Love your devotions!

    • says

      Thanks so much hun. That movie shakes me to my core. I don’t think we truly “get it”… and I don’t think we ever really will. But with our own human limitations and flaws, may we at least try…

  3. says

    Chris, I was anxiously awaiting your Sunday post this week. It means more to me than I can explain. Being from the Boston area and even having a planned trip to Boston on Wednesday to celebrate the end of tax season (which we canceled), it’s been a rough one for us. It’s been tough to put into words. But I guess I don’t really need the words right now. Thanks, my friend. 🙂

    • says

      Oh Jennifer, I am so so glad this post meant something to YOU! Your post honoring your amazing history and love for this great City touched me so deeply. I am just so bummed you had to cancel your trip. I am so grateful that my words comforted you in some way. You mean the world to me…

  4. Candice says

    LOVE this Chris, thanks so much for sharing. I make myself view ‘Passion’ movie every Passover week, sometime that week I painfully make myself sit through it….the visual reminder is so painful to see but always pierces my heart in such a way to help me never forget what he went through for us….I appreciate the verse you shared…how very helpful to us all when we don’t have any words and feel like we can’t help those in need.

    • says

      I find some comfort in knowing the Spirit can intercede for us when the pain and suffering are too great for words. I also feel a sense hope in knowing that I can carry a bit of their grief in hopes to pray them through the darkness.

      I love that you watch The Passion every passover…what an amazing tradition for you to renew your faith in Christ every year. I just love that Candy.

  5. says

    I recently saw that interview w/ the Sandy Hook parents. I sobbed when the mom said she goes to bed every night and prays that her son will come to her in her dreams. I had the same response you did. I just didn’t have words to express even in prayer. I had the same reaction last week when the first news of the marathon bombing came through my computer. All I could do was sigh and know that the Spirit was in that sigh. All I could do was exhale because it was all just too much. But I knew that the Spirit would take that sigh and turn it into the prayer that I had no words for.
    Bless you friend.

    • says

      Oh Stephanie, we are truly the same heart. I thought of you, when I was watching the 60 Minutes episode. I know how deeply impacted you have been by that tragedy! I can’t believe you went through the very same thing… and I wondered if you saw that episode. Yes- I vividly remember that mom saying that. Every parent shared their grief so eloquently. I was amazed at their clarity of thought and their unbelievable strength within their suffering. Oh it is so awful… it continues to resonate in my heart…lifting my moans now to God.

  6. says

    A very good post. I have never sat through the entire movie. It is painful to watch and so hard to wrap my mind around. Thanks for sharing your words of comfort and wisdom.

    • says

      I know. It’s horrific. And I too, struggle with the reality of it all. Thank you so much for stopping by to read and share, Laurie. I am so grateful. 🙂

  7. says

    Beautiful. Sometimes, there is no recourse but to hurt, to sit in quiet and retreat a bit because the world is too much. That’s ok. There’s peace and healing in the silence, but there’s also hurt – we hurt when we see these images, and it shows how connected we are to the great and the evil that surrounds us every day.

    • says

      We are so connected…even when tragedy is miles away. We are parents… We are friends and family and every other person that has lost or suffered so greatly. We are them. We could be them… That reality is terrifying. But as we stand safe in our light, we can moan in prayer for their darkness. They are not strangers…they are us.

  8. Tammy says

    Wow. Powerful. I absolutely believe that God allows us to bear each other’s burdens, even if only in part. I’ve been been on both sides of this – the one being blessed by others lightening my burden and being blessed to hurt on behalf of others pain and lift them in prayer. Very good reminder of our privilege as brothers and sisters in Christ.

    • says

      You have taught me this truth Tammy!!! Your prayers and your heart show me that we can lift each other up and carry each other through the dark times and moan for the suffering on behalf of their pain… it is truly a beautiful privilege we have. You bless me. 🙂

    • says

      Yes- so much sadness and tragedy Michelle… I have found a way. And I continue to pray for those who mourn and grieve. There are so many…

  9. says

    This reminds me of Romans 15 that says we who are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak… Although we can’t literally take away their burdens, we can hold them up through prayer and with those wordless groans…allowing the spirit to moan for us. When I think about the price that Christ paid for me, I want to fall on my face in humble adoration and repentance. (Trying to hold it together at work here 🙂 )

    • says

      I hope you kept it together Hope! lol What a perfect verse to add to this message!! Yes… YES! I too “want to fall on my face in humble adoration and repentance.” So beautifully put, my dear!!

  10. says

    What a beautiful prayer. And so selfless. I’m not surprised that this is your prayer, my friend. It is who you are. It is who He made you. I have no doubt in my mind that you feel deep in your heart the suffering that goes on in this world. I love what you wrote here and I plan on taking it and using it in my own life and in my own prayers.

  11. says

    Beautiful Chris!!! Like you, I couldn’t finish watching “The Passion of the Christ”, as a matter of fact, I’ve never been able to watch the complete movie. We take for granted what our Savior did for us those many years ago, even though He knew everyone wouldn’t accept Him. Thanks for the reminder Chris of our awesome Savior and of how we should bear one another’s grief and pain. Have a lovely evening my friend and thanks for linking up!! :-)xoxoxo

    • says

      Those two things are probably the most important truths in my life…and yours too, I am sure!! I believe The Passion is one of the greatest things Hollywood has ever produced to share the message of Christ. I am just so glad it’s “out there” for all to see and I pray people are impacted by it to this day.

    • says

      Oh Mary- I’m so glad you read this! Thank you, dear friend. It means so much to me that you were touched by it. I am reminded always of this truth. Still praying for so many suffering…

  12. says

    It has been years since “The Passion of the Christ” film was released, but same as you I was able to watch it the very first time during the Lenten season this year. I am really moved by the scenes showed throughout the film. In fact, my tears keep falling onto my cheeks the whole time.

    • says

      I know… sometimes I had to look away it was so horrific. It is a brutal reminder of what our loving Savior went through for us. Thank you so much Naomi, for stopping by and sharing!!!

  13. says

    {Melinda} As usual, you captured the emotions so beautifully into words. I have a very hard time sitting though the Passion of the Christ. I’ve watched it twice and it leaves me feeling so emotionally wrung out. But I think it’s a good reminder of what He did for us. What “dying on the cross” really meant in human suffering terms.

    The need around us is so great … we can’t ease all the pain, but we can offer what we have and God will use it. I adore those verses. They are some of my favorites. I have clung to them during dark times.

    • says

      Thank you so much my friend. Yes- I find so much comfort in leaning on these truths in those dark hours. I still pray for so many who are suffering… wordless moans on their behalf.

  14. says

    What a touching and thought provoking post. I’m reminded of a death in my community this week and will be praying for them, hopefully taking some of the burden. Thank you for the reminder.

  15. says

    My gosh what a relief to rely on this timeless scripture when life, full of pain and evil, is too much to handle. I couldn’t watch Passion of Christ either..and the Sandy Hook shootings unbearable…you remind me today our groans are heard. Chris, this is so raw and beautiful.

    • says

      Oh Kathy, how I LOVE that you saw this post, and you are right there with me. I’m so touched by your response! It’s all unbearable… too much. No words, just groans.

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