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Ever been lost for words?

1 year ago

In this week's ReSource blog, Revd Annie McCabe dives into Romans 8:26-27, reminding us that the Spirit is at work in the midst of our weakness, when words fail us.

Hi, I’m Annie and I am the vicar of St Luke’s- a little, local and ordinary church at the heart of the city centre in Portsmouth 

Living and working in one of the materially poorest parts of the country has its challenges

But it also brings remarkable Spirit filled opportunities 

  • Time to meet those on the edge of our society
  • Time to listen to those whose voice is rarely heard
  • Time to share the transforming love of Jesus with those who have no clue what unconditional love feels like 

Yes, the power of the Holy Spirit continues to open doors and changes lives.

St Luke’s is a church family open to the Holy Spirit…those powerful mages of the Spirit: a dove of peace, flames of fire, living water, fruitful character, have been real to us since we reopened the church five years ago, but the Biblical description of the Holy Spirit that has resonated with us most in this season is none of those. It is instead this one: 

Romans 8: 26-27

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.

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


Have you ever been lost for words? I know I have been lately

Yet I seem too often be around people vocal about the future

So certain of the direction of the church post pandemic 

So eloquent in their articulation of the way ahead  

To be honest, I have struggled in their company.

At such a time as this, I don’t know.

I find I am lost for words. God knows my heart. 

What I do sense is that the Spirit is clearly moving and causing a holy disruption, but the way is not clear yet. It is messy.

The church we were, we no longer are. The church that the Spirit is calling us to become is still emerging. 

Still In the making. 

Yet God is the master builder. 

We are not to grab the tools and build as if we know better.

Who needs God when you are so sure of the future design?

Let’s not be too quick to speak and try to fix it

His invitation is to be still. Be honest. And let the Spirit pray within us 

  • Recognise the Holy Spirit helps us when we are weak.
  • Recognise the Holy Spirit helps us when we don’t know what we ought to pray for
  • Recognise it is then the Spirit is praying. Interceding for us and the communities our churches are serving 
  •  And when the Spirit prays, His prayers hit the spot. He intercedes in accordance with the will of God

Today I took home communion to a woman who is very sick and lives in one of the high-rise flats that surround us

It’s a humble place and yet, sitting together in her front room, the sense of the Holy Spirit in that place was palpable. I wonder why? Perhaps because it was a: 

  • Place of weakness not a place of ego or show.
  • Place where we were lost for words in how to pray - So profound were her health issues and family losses.

That is the place where the Holy Spirit is to be found, groaning in ways that words cannot express

Jesus notices those ignored or overlooked by others

For God’s kingdom continues to take root one person at a time.

So be encouraged if you are in a state of unknowing just now.

The Holy Spirit is praying for us…and we won’t hear a single spoken word. 


Revd Annie McCabe


"Thank you so much for everything that ReSource put into the Frome churches day. The love, planning and prayer that went into the day was very evident – with space for worship, teaching, testimony, and time to listen to and receive from God. I found it personally hugely encouraging, and have spoken to many others who felt the same. The teaching was clear, practical, and relevant for every type and size of church. The workshops were excellent. It was really exciting to see this event happening in Frome and we will be praying that it is a significant step in releasing the work and fruit of the Holy Spirit in and through the churches in and around the town. Come again soon!"
Caroline Pomeroy Lay Dean, Frome Deanery