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 through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Never separate these verses. The Spirit prays according to the mind of God, and the Father answers by bringing into our lives and working through the experiences that we need. He sends into our life the experiences that we need, no matter what they may be.
Now, that means that even the trials and tragedies that happen to us are an answer from the Father to the praying of the Spirit, doesn’t it? You may be in an automobile accident today. Someone may steal your purse. You may find your house is on fire. There are a thousand and one possibilities. What we need to understand is that these things do not happen by accident. They happen because the Spirit which is in you prayed and asked that the Father allow them to happen — because you or someone close to you needs what God will accomplish in them. These are the results of the praying of the Spirit.
The joys, the unexpected blessings, and the unusual things that happen to you are also the result of the Spirit’s praying. The Spirit is praying that these things will happen, he is voicing the deep concern of God himself for your needs and mine. Out of this grows the assurance that no matter what happens, God will work it together for good. This verse does not tell us that everything that happens to us is good. It does say that whether the situation is bad or good, it will work together for good for you if you are one who is loved and called by God. What a difference that makes as we wait for the coming of the glory! God is working out his purposes within us.
Paul is telling us here that we can wait with patience because nature testifies of his glorious coming, and our own experience confirms it as well. We are being prepared for something — we can’t really tell what it is, specifically, but we are getting ready for something. One of these days, at the end of our lives, if not before, we will step out of time into an incredible experience of glory, something that begs description — a glory that Christ himself shares, and that we all shall share with him.
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This is what God is preparing us for. No wonder the apostle then closes this passage with one of the greatest paeans of praise in the Scriptures, in vv.31-39. As we face the sufferings we are going through now, what a blessing, and what a help it is to remember the glory that has been granted to us. We have been counted worthy to suffer for his name, that we may also share in the glory that is to come.
Thank you, Father, for these mighty promises. I pray that I may understand them, and thus be able to endure patiently and with thanksgiving what I am going through now, knowing that it is the very suffering that is working and producing the glory.
In what ways does this promised partnership with the Spirit change our perspective on our prayers? Are we learning to confidently receive all aspects of our lives as God’s loving, perfect will?