Scripture: Romans 8:26-30
Key verse: (26) “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.”
Reflection: Recently, I was re-reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book Life Together. It was written during WWII when he was teaching in an underground seminary. Bonhoeffer would meet his students in secret to avoid prosecution. We can only imagine how alone and isolated he and his students must have felt as they taught and learned in secret hoping to avoid arrest. Their lives were in constant danger. In the midst of their uncertainty, Bonhoeffer encouraged his students to read scripture, particularly the Psalms because they are a powerful reminder that “one who prays never prays alone.” Bonhoeffer’s quote about prayer reminds me of today’s scripture.
In the context of suffering, the Apostle Paul offers hope for the future. He reassures us that God hears our cries for help and even prays with and for us. God takes all things – good and bad – and works them into God’s purposes. Yet, there are times when we are impatient. We try to make the terrible things that happen better before they can be better. We stumble around with our questions and fears forgetting that God is the one who will work all things together for good – not us. In the short run, the events of life can be awful. But through it all, God is present and the Holy Spirit “intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.” What a hopeful message! We are assured that God knows our hearts and will pray our prayers with us. We are not alone.
Prayer: Loving God, thank you for taking what happens to us and creating something new. Shape our lives in such a way that your likeness may be seen in us. Call us by name and place us on solid ground. Encourage us when we are down and lift us up when we pray for your help. Complete your work in us and stay with us, always. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].