Friars Corner: The power of the Holy Spirit in our prayer

Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR

Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR

Wisdom 12:13, 16-19; Ps 86:5-6, 9-10, 15-16; Romans 8:26-27; Matthew 13:24-43

I would usually take the gospel theme to develop. This week it is a parable about the good wheat and weeds the enemy sowed in the field and two other parables. With my background of 47 years, I know myself as a Franciscan, Catholic, Charismatic priest.

I became involved in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal about four months before my ordination in 1970. I was then sent to Levittown, PA, to teach in high school. The first week I was there a brother took me to a lady’s house for a prayer meeting. I was shocked at how they prayed in tongues, gave prophecies and prayed for healing.

The second reading this Sunday only occurs once in three years. St. Paul explains a little bit of how thousands of Catholics are praying in that way. I cannot step aside from explaining this level of prayer.

The Holy Spirit intercedes

Chapter 8 of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans deals with our fallen human nature we have inherited from Adam and Eve and how God, the Holy Spirit, works within us to transform our fallen nature. Paul says:

The (Holy) Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit} because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.

The Holy Spirit prays for what God wants

In essence, Paul means that one way of prayer is that the Holy Spirit, who already lives inside of us, knows what we need and what God our Father wants to give us. So the Holy Spirit prays for what God wants to do and sometimes it is in groanings. You may have done that at times yourself. Pictures of St. Pope John Paul II show that he often prayed that way when he went to visit around the world in churches before the Blessed Sacrament, asking for wisdom on his visit to that area.

A dimension I have learned over the years is that we can give our vocal mechanism over to the Holy Spirit and he prays in new and various languages that we have never learned. We call this “praying in tongues, or foreign languages.” There are 19 texts in the New Testament about praying in tongues. With practice over many years we find ourselves praying this way in many different languages. If you want a list of the various texts you can email me at, and I shall send them to you. This is a program that is almost 2,000 years old and few Catholics know about it. This should not be a closely guarded secret known only to a few.

The Holy Spirit’s prayer is through us

I do not always know how to pray about many situations in my life, family, ministry, country and the world. I don’t need to worry. I just go to the Holy Spirit and allow him to pray to Our Father through me for this or that intention. If the Holy Spirit does not know how to pray for that intention, who would know?

There is great joy and thrill when we are comfortable praying in this way. Have a good week knowing that Jesus is alive and loves us. He has given us of his Holy Spirit to comfort, guide and heal us.

Have a blessed week,
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2017 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)


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About Nancy Ward

Nancy HC Ward is a journalist, author, and speaker who blogs about Catholicism, her conversion, and Christian community at,
 7 websites and 7 magazines. She loves to share her faith story and help others share theirs through her Sharing Your Faith Stories seminars, also available on DVD. She contributed four chapters to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. She facilitates the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers and a critique group for the Catholic Writers Guild, where she serves as a board member.
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