Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 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 with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”
Verse 26 and 27 continue to pour forth encouragement into the believer’s life.
How so? Paul wants us to know with certainty that we are never left alone. It doesn’t take us long to figure out that we are weak—we have a limited capacity. To top it off, we are susceptible to sin and death. According to the passage above, the Spirit does not condemn us in our weakness. No, it’s just the opposite; the Spirit sustains us in our weakness.
How? By coming alongside us and interceding for us. Remember that the Holy Spirit is also called “the advocate.” He helps us and will always be with us. He teaches us all things and He reminds us of everything Jesus said. He is the Spirit of truth—He testifies about Jesus. The Spirit will prove the world to be wrong about sin and righteousness. Now think about that—let it sink in—this is who indwells believers. The Holy Spirit is the one who knows just what to pray and how to pray for us. I can’t think of anything more encouraging.
Why? Because, the truth is, many times when we pray, we pray selfishly, ignorantly, and narrowly. We’re finite beings with limited knowledge and understanding. If it was left up to us to figure it all out, what a terrible state we’d be left in. The good news is that we’re not left in that state of being; as Christ followers, we have an advocate, the Holy Spirit! We can be assured that the Spirit Himself will come alongside us to help us in our weakness, interceding for us with groaning that can’t find expression.
What a marvelous thought for us to ponder—the Spirit praying for us, interceding for us, groaning for us, pleading for us. It is marvelous, humbling, and comforting at the same time. I think that’s what Paul’s intent was in this passage.
One commentator wrote:
“There is mystery here. We are peering into the unseen, spiritual realm where a great Person and great forces are at work on our behalf. And although we cannot understand it all, we can take infinite encouragement from the fact that a groan may sometimes be the most spiritual prayer.”
Take some time today and think about what it means to know that you personally have an advocate in the Holy Spirit. To know that no matter what difficulty you face, He is interceding for you—sometimes groaning for you. You and I may not have the words to express what we’re feeling; we might not even know how to pray in a given situation, but it doesn’t matter because the Spirit will come alongside us and help us.
As I think about this, I can’t help but remember when my kids were in high school. There were times when I would say to them, “You will never find anyone more on your side than me. I only have your best in mind. I’m for you, not against you. I’m not trying to make life difficult; I only want the best for you.” In a sense, I was groaning for them, coming alongside them, and helping them. I can’t help but think how much more abundantly the Holy Spirit is doing the same thing for me—not as a flawed being like me, but as God Himself.
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the Gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live out this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the Good News today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest.