The Holy Spirit is the person of God who intercedes for us on earth. Here is a picture of His intercession.
1. He prays for us. A big part of the intercession of the Holy Spirit is His prayer for us. While Jesus is praying for us in heaven, the Holy Spirit is praying for us here on earth in our hearts.
Romans 8:27 says that He intercedes for us “according to God.” Most translations say that He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. However, a literal translation should read “according to God”, leaving out “the will of”. William Newel states, “We feel that the introduction of the words ‘the will of’ before the word God, merely obscures the meaning.” He states that the phrase “according to God” is a more “all inclusive” and “blessed expression.” Newel says it this way: “We know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit makes intercession in us, ‘according to God,’ according to His nature (of which we are partakers); according to our needs, which He discerns; according to our dangers, which He foresees—according to all the desires He has towards us.”
And how does He pray for us? Romans 8:26 says “But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words” (NLT). These groans I think are the deep, inexpressible sighs and feelings of love He has for us. He loves us with an everlasting love; and He longs for that day of our full redemption (Rom. 8:23).
Now His prayers for us are not at all separate from ours. In fact, His groanings are the same groanings we have. When we groan in prayer He groans in prayer; and when He groans in prayer we groan in prayer. For He dwells in us. And when He prays for us He prays in us and through us. Therefore, His prayers become our prayers. Thus whenever we pray we are praying “in the Spirit.”
2. He teaches us. The Holy Spirit is our teacher in all of life. He helps us to understand the Word—all that God has said to us and is still saying to us. From the Word He shows us what the will of the Father is; and He brings us to His side. He also teaches us how to be patient and how to abide in Christ.
He teaches us to pray. The Bible tells us (in Romans 8:26) that the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. In this context, the weakness is that we do no not know what we should pray for; hence, it is how we are in the flesh without the filling of the Spirit. But when we set our mind on the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:6), and when we by the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body, then we make ourselves available and teachable so that He can teach us how to pray.
When the Holy Spirit teaches us how to pray, it isn’t as if He stands in front of us, lecturing us; but rather, He teaches us as our private tutor, someone who is always with us and near us. He is in fact in us, bringing us close to the Father and the Son. Yes, the Holy Spirit is the agent that carries us to the Spirit of the Father and of the Son (Rom. 8:9). And so He brings us into the fellowship of the Godhead. There He teaches us the will of the Father, shows us the love of the Son, and makes us feel His own groanings.
3. He aids us. Along with praying for us, the Holy Spirit helps us, or aids us in bearing our trials and in prayer (Rom. 8:26). Intercession isn’t just praying for another, it is coming along side and helping. In His aid to us He comforts us, speaks to us, and strengthens us. He is our friend who helps us bares our burdens. Sometimes He says to us, “Climb on my back and I will carry you. We will go together. We will pray together.”
He is also our creator who breathes His life and His prayers into us. As E.M. Bounds has said, “We pray by Him, through Him and in Him. He puts the prayer in us and we give it utterance and heart.”
But in saying that, we must not get the idea that we have no will in our praying—that because He breaths His prayers into us, we have no choice but to pray whatever He prays. That is not the case at all. He gives us a clear choice all along the way. We choose to abide in Him. We choose to follow Him. We choose to pray according to His will. When He breathes His prayer into us, it is what we have desired all along. So, we don’t just pray what He desires. They are in fact our desires as well.
4. He brings our prayers to God and interprets them to God. Do you ever worry that your prayers are not adequate, that you don’t pray too well? Well, we don’t have to worry about that, because the Holy Spirit interprets to the Father what is really on our heart. This is partly what it means in Romans 8:26 when it says that the Holy Spirit “makes intercession for us.” What I think He actually does is He makes sense out of everything we pray and He straightens out and corrects every prayer so that they come out perfect, according to how we really feel. Yes, the Spirit expresses to the Father our own feelings much better than we ever could; and the Father accepts them as our own prayers.