The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8.26-27).


His day darkened by the world’s ills
(the rampant, raging –isms and –ities
of ageless human cruelties;
sorrowfully, in every era, born again
and borne embodied in violent, malevolent principalities and powers)
no customary diversion (delusion?) sufficient to bring him peace;
his mind troubled
his heart fluttering, a wounded, flightless bird.

He sought to pray
for hope and for strength,
so, at length, to continue to strive to live with love and justice for all.

But his row-upon-row of tattered leather-bound books of supplications,
their gilt-edges long worn away by daily practice,
usually able, as capable soldiers in battle,
gifting him with the weapon of speech,
proved useless;
beribboned boxes empty of the gifts of intensity and clarity of expression.

And the words of his own, self-made orisons,
died in his despairing throat.

Falling into forlorn silence,
then did he hear (only then could he hear),
rising from the bowels of his soul,
the cries of his Legion-sighs;
a language, his language, unintelligible, though true (truest).


And the more he sighed and the more he cried,
he believed, he trusted…he knew
that the Spirit flew,
both descending and ascending,
bearing (translating in heaven’s word) his petition heavenward
to the Divinest Ear.

4 thoughts on “Spirited-Prayer

  1. Paul…deepest thanks for your reflective piece and your rich word-smithing.
    Your poem is personal, however, any seeker/follower/journey-er will immediately identify. This Romans 8 passage is one of my top go-to scriptures. …’when we do not have the words (or song) the Spirit intercedes for us with sighs and groans (and melodies) too deep for words.’ 🎶🙏🎶


    1. Thank you, Roger. And I love your wondrous addition – “and melodies.” Yes!


  2. Pail,

    I’ve read this so many times already!! This truly made me cry, but it was the restorative type of cry. Where I felt “YES this is how I feel” followed closely by “you’re never alone”!! That’ll preach as you would say!!

    Much love to you for being you and for these words!!


  3. No, you are not…you never are alone, and neither am I. Thank you for that…for your confirmation of this solace-rendering truth.



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