Rev. Dr Geoff New


At a loss for words: When the Spirit prays when the children of God can’t (Romans 8:18-27)
Thursday 27 March 2025 | 2:50pm

In Romans 8, the effects of suffering, groaning, hoping, and waiting culminate in a realistic and startling admission; the people of God are weakened and prayerless. Yet, amid such anguish, the thread of groaning is seen not only in creation and humanity, but in the ministry of the Spirit of the Resurrection. “The Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Rom 8:26). The intercessory ministry of the Spirit is presented as a crucial theological response to the plight of creation and the children of God. However, in a context of suffering and the call to adopt the posture of patient hope (Rom 8:24-25); what is the church’s response to the promise of the Spirit’s intercession? When weakened and prayerless, does the church demonstrate a spirituality that attests to divine agency instead of human activity? What are we to make of the mystery that the children of God do not know what to pray, and neither do they know what is being prayed (the Spirit prays in “wordless groans”)? What is the place of groaning in Christian prayer and faith? This session will explore the distinct nature of the Spirit’s intercessory ministry and offer reflection on how this shapes the church’s life and ministry. Such life and ministry is ultimately marked by distinct salvific hope in the adoption and redemption of humanity; “For in this hope we were saved” (vv 23- 24).

Geoff New


Rev. Dr Geoff New is the principal of the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership (Dunedin). Geoff has previously served as a minister for 17 years, a police chaplain, and as adjunct lecturer in preaching (Laidlaw College). He has authored four books on preaching and regularly trained preachers in south Asia for Langham Preaching.