17 Nov The Intercessor
Read: Romans 8:26-27
Last Sunday, Pastor Jason preached on suffering and glory from Romans 8:18-25. This Sunday, Pastor Ken will preach from Romans 8:26-27 on the Holy Spirit’s intercession for us according to the will of God. As you prepare your heart for our corporate gathering, let these words from Tim Keller encourage you to persevere in prayer.
Verse 26 begins: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us”— just as our hope helps us (v 23-25), so does the Spirit. He does so by helping us in our prayers. There are times when “we do not know what we ought to pray for” (v 26). Christians do find themselves wanting to pray, but having no words to pray with. We may be facing deep personal loss, or be wrestling with a life-changing decision, or confronting our own failings and flaws. But when human vocabulary proves insufficient, the language of the Spirit does not. “The Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” When we feel too weak to act like children of God, confidently approaching our Abba, the Spirit helps us. When we feel we have no words to pray, we do not need to feel that we cannot pray.
Further, we never need feel that we cannot pray because we feel we do not know what we ought to pray. As the Father “searches our hearts” (v 27), hearing the groans beneath our words, knowing our affections and the motives behind our requests, the Spirit “intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” The Spirit enables us to pray in line with God’s plan and purposes for his world and his people— to groan, along with the creation (v 22), as we wait patiently and eagerly for the “glory that will be revealed in us” (v 18). The Spirit enables us to pray prayers that please our Father.
Our prayer, then, involves all three members of the Trinity. We cry to the Father, with the confidence of children. How can we do this? As Douglas Moo puts it, it is because:
“There is one in heaven, the Son of God, who intercedes on our behalf, defending us from all charges that might be brought against us, guaranteeing salvation in the day of judgment (8:34). But there is also, Paul asserts in these verses, an intercessor ‘in the heart,’ the Spirit of God, who effectively prays to the Father on our behalf throughout the difficulties and uncertainties of our lives here on earth.” (The Epistle to the Romans, page 527)
There is never any need, or any reason, for any of us not to pray!
Excerpt from Romans 8-16 For You, by Tim Keller
Song List for Sunday
1. “Alive In Us,” by Hillsong Live
2. “Let Your Kingdom Come,” by Sovereign Grace Music
3. “Holy Spirit,” by Keith and Kristyn Getty
4. “At The Cross (Love Ran Red),” Arr. by Shane & Shane