Dr. Dan Hayden • 

We all need help. Come on—admit it—even you! None of us are self-sufficient. But did you know that this is also true with regard to our prayers? We even need help to know what to pray.

Some businesses build their reputation on service—they are there when you need them. Well, God says that with regard to our prayers. He is there when we need Him.  He provides a wonderful service that helps us when we pray. Romans 8:26 says, “The Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know what to pray for as we ought…”

Now, what does it mean that the Holy Spirit helps us with our weakness when we pray? In the Greek text of Scripture, this little word “helps” is the Greek word sunantilambanomai. Wow! What a word! Actually it means “to take hold with another; to take share in; to help someone.”


When we pray we want God to immediately remove every problem. But the Holy Spirit helps us by saying, “Now wait a minute—don’t be impulsive. God may be doing something special here. Be careful how you pray.”

After my third back surgery, I spent some time at a physical therapy clinic. On one occasion the therapist was sitting across from me on the mat, watching as I practiced an exercise to stretch the muscles in my legs. Suddenly the muscle began to cramp, and I began to back off. Immediately the therapist yelled at me, “Don’t back off! Work through it! Push—come on, you can do it!” I was suffering, and I wanted to quit, but she wouldn’t let me. She “sunantilambanomai’ed” me. She helped me put the suffering into perspective.

Now, that’s what the Holy Spirit does when we pray. He helps us put our suffering into the perspective of God’s greater working in our lives.

Hey, it sure is nice to have help when you don’t know what to do.

For further study, see The Prayer Puzzle.