After six months of living in Vienna, Austria, I moved to Linz to begin working in a church plant developing a youth ministry. I came to Austria with no furniture. Once I found my apartment, I had to purchase a bed, a mattress, a kitchen (yes, there was absolutely no kitchen, just pipes sticking out of the wall), etc. I went to IKEA to purchase my bed. I walked up to the sales lady and told her, “I need a sailor (Matrose) for my bed.” She gasped, chuckled, and then gasped again. I repeated myself a little more firmly this time, “ Yes, I need a sailor (Matrose) for my bed.” As I am speaking, I see the mattresses (Matratze) out of the corner of my eye and point to them. She exclaimed with a hint of relief, “OH, a mattress (Matratze).” It was not until later in the day that I learned what I had truly said. My colleagues, through breaks of laughter, told me my blooper. I honestly thought “sailor” was the word for “mattress.” I had never officially learned either word; I was relying on natural osmosis.

“The Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying. For we don’t even know what we should pray for nor how to pray as we should, but the Holy Spirit prays for us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows, of course, what the Spirit is saying as he pleads for us in harmony with God’s own will.”

Romans 8:26-27

I wish the Holy Spirit could have stepped in for me that day at IKEA. It’s fabulous that He intercedes on our behalf before God. That means that we can’t pray wrong. We are foolish weak, and distracted in our prayers because we are human. God knew this would be the case. He knew that we couldn’t get it right in our broken world. God sent His Spirit to step in where our brokenness stops us from communicating all that we desire to God. We as humans don’t even fully know what we need. So often, we confuse our wants with needs and needs with wants. The Holy Spirit untangles our messy hearts and words and translates correctly to God what we truly meant to say and didn’t know we needed to say.

Matthew Henry said it most beautifully in his commentary on Romans,

“The Holy Spirit is the spring of all our desires and breathings towards God.”