In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. – Romans 8:26
22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Our heavenly Father understands our language. But often we feel unable to express our deepest longings to Him. The apostle Paul encourages us to pray regardless of how we feel. Paul speaks of our suffering world and our own pain: “The whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth” (Romans 8:22), and he compares that to the Holy Spirit’s work on our behalf. “The Spirit helps us in our weakness,” he writes. “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (v. 26).
God’s Holy Spirit knows us intimately. He knows our longings, our heart-language, and our unspoken words, and He helps us in our communication with God. His Spirit draws us to be transformed into the image of God the Son (v. 29).
Our heavenly Father understands our language and speaks to us through His Word. When we think our prayers are weak or too short, His Holy Spirit helps us by speaking through us to the Father. He yearns for us to talk with Him in prayer. – By Lawrence Darmani
REFLECT & PRAY
When we feel weak in our prayers, God’s Spirit helps us in ways we can’t imagine.
Thank You, Lord, for understanding my language and innermost longings. When my prayers are weak and dry, bear me up through Your Spirit.
Our inability to know what to ask for when we pray is part of a bigger story. According to Paul’s letter to the Romans, there’s a lot more we can’t do for ourselves. We also can’t avoid the consequences of our own choices, change our own hearts, make ourselves right with God, or even live up to our own expectations (Romans 4:5; 6:23; 7:18-21). Yet Paul doesn’t leave us helpless and hopeless. He begins and ends chapter 8 showing us how to rise on wings of wonder. Could anything lift us higher than to know that we also can’t do anything that would cause the God who is for us to stop helping and loving us? (vv. 11, 31-39). Mart DeHaanTwinkle
Shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. – Phil 2:15-16
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing,
15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
In Philippians, Paul challenges believers in Philippi to be blameless and pure as they “shine . . . like stars in the sky” while offering the good news of the gospel to all around them (2:15-16). We wonder how we can shine like stars. We often feel inadequate and struggle to think our “light” is bright enough to make a difference. But stars don’t try to be stars. They just are. Light changes our world. And it changes us. God brought physical light into our world (Genesis 1:3); and through Jesus, God brings spiritual light into our lives (John 1:1-4).
We who have God’s light in us are to shine in such a way that those around us see light and are drawn to its source. As effortlessly as a star hanging in the night sky, our light makes a difference because of what it is: Light! When we simply shine, we follow Paul’s directive to “hold firmly to the word of life” in a world in deep darkness, and we draw others to the source of our hope: Jesus. – By Elisa Morgan
REFLECT & PRAY
Jesus brings light into our life.
Dear God, may Your light shine out of the very cracks of our beings as we hold out the Word of life to others.
Paul’s words here—“Do everything without grumbling or arguing” (Philippians 2:14)—remind us of the Israelites during the Exodus. Soon after the people had experienced their miraculous deliverance from slavery, they “grumbled against Moses and Aaron” (Exodus 16:2). They even said, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt!” (v. 3). God hated their murmuring. In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians he alludes to that generation of Israelites: “Do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel” (1 Corinthians 10:10).
We’re all prone to complain; it’s the norm in this world. That’s why doing things “without grumbling or arguing” (Philippians 2:14) will set us apart in this world. When we live our lives in grateful obedience to God, we will shine “like stars in the sky” (v. 15). Our quiet and humble service will stand in stark contrast to the dissatisfied world around us. Living a quiet and peaceable life of gratitude is the real counter cultural movement.
Do people avoid us because we’re always complaining? Or are they drawn to Christ because they sense His Spirit working in us to give us a grateful heart? – Tim Gustafson