A colleague I respect a lot, Martin Lund, did a retreat on prayer at our congregation in Grahamstown. He started the retreat with these words: "Do you know that you are a prayed-in, prayed-through, prayed-for people?"
He then went on to read the same verses we are looking at today.
The Holy Spirit lives in each of us and He exercises an ongoing ministry of prayer in us, through us and for us.
What a wonderful comfort!
When the earth groans with the pain of brokenness and we struggle, the Spirit groans in us, for us and with us! We don't know what to pray, but the Spirit is praying for us. We don't have the words but He is connecting our neediness to God with "groans that words cannot express."
Some people interpret these "groans" as praying in tongues and I think it is quite feasible that when a person is given the gift of praying in tongues in a non-public setting (where there must be interpretation) it is likely that that tongue is God's Spirit praying through me because I don't know what to pray. I think that is _a_ possible explanation, but I don't think we should limit the "groans" to being tongues.
I believe the "groans" cover a broader space. I believe that by this repetition of "groaning" with regard to suffering and now prayer, Paul is showing us that when we suffer, the Holy Spirit brings our suffering to God.
He helps us to pray, He connects our needs to God. He prays in us, through us and for us.
Thank You Holy Spirit!