For in hope we are saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 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. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Rom. 8:24-27)
During times of so much crisis and anxiety our prayers can come and go. Things are falling apart and sometimes I can go more deeply into my praying and sometimes I don’t. Last week, in particular, this going more deeply into praying wasn’t happening for me. Instead, I was going more deeply into worry and fear, and my praying went flat and I wondered if it made any difference.
If I am speaking to you—and my guess is that I am speaking to many people—what can we do when our praying stops or becomes rote or even meaningless? Sometimes the best we can do is to pray to pray. And when praying to pray makes no sense to us, we can draw upon the hope that Paul gives to us today.
What is that hope? More important, more trustworthy, more useful, more effective than our own praying to God, is God’s Spirit praying in and through us. Just imagine the power of this promise! Our praying goes dead, and God’s praying brings new life. Our praying seems meaningless, but God’s praying brings purpose “too deep for words.” Our praying goes dry, but God’s praying renews and replenishes. Our praying seems useless, but God’s praying will carry on in ways we often can’t see.
So, how might God’s Spirit be interceding for us right now? I believe that God’s Spirit is praying for us and will be working through us to find a cure. I also believe that God’s Spirit will be praying for us to learn from what we are going through–learn how to think ahead and prepare, learn how to bolster up our medical system, learn how to take better care of each other, learn how to be more patient, more responsible, more courageous, more resilient.
Today’s hope in encapsulated in the last line: “And God, who searches the heart, knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
- If you remembered that God is always interceding for you, how would how you think about your praying change?
- How do you believe God may be interceding for you right now?
- Paul says that “In hope we are saved.” What is the hope that is holding you together right now? And if you aren’t doing so well, what is the hope that you need?