Weekly Scripture: Romans 8:26-39
Have you ever felt so overwhelmed that you could not find the words – or maybe even the strength – to pray? It is so comforting when a friend comes along and prays with you. I remember a time not too long ago when I felt overwhelmed by many of the every day pressures of life and ministry. A woman from the church came by my office to pray for me. I had not told her beforehand how I was feeling or about the specific stressors I was dealing with. Yet her prayer for me specifically addressed the things that were overwhelming me. My only conclusion from this event was that this was a true person of prayer and God had sent her my way as an expression of his deep love for me. God was reminding me that he held my heart securely and compassionately. God was well aware of my cares and concerns, and through this friend, God was communicating that to me. When we pray for one another in this way, we help carry our brothers and sisters into the presence of our merciful God.
Look at the image above. These two friends are sharing in a time of prayer with one another and it appears to be in response to a difficult situation. Maybe you have been the one with her head in her hands, crying and unable to see a solution to a very troubling and hurtful problem. You have needed someone to bear your burdens with you and a trusted friend has come alongside of you to offer your needs before God. Perhaps you have been the friend, who bows in prayer for a distressed loved one, interceding for them while you share their struggle in your heart. Think about a situation where you have played one of these two roles. What was it like to join your friend in prayer? How did you sense God’s presence or God’s response to your prayer?
Our Scripture passage for this week tells us that both the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ intercede for us. This means that they express in our prayers things that we cannot express naturally on our own. They serve as conduits of our communion with God, reminding us that our concerns are never overlooked and ensuring that we remain connected to the healing comfort and power of heaven. Paul reminds us that when God is working on our behalf in such ways, we have nothing to fear as far as external threats go. “If God is for us, who is against us,” he boldly asks. When have you felt God working for you?
As you pray this week, remember that God receives your prayers joyfully. God will hear your needs – even your deepest heartbreaks – and will respond in loving mercy and gracious action. Ask God, even in this moment, to hear you at the deepest core level of your soul – to hear what you cannot even express in words. Take a moment of stillness and silence and let God hear your heart. Finally, ask God to reveal to you a friend whom you can pray for this week. Spend the next few moments lifting them up in prayer, interceding for them before God. God knows what we need and will lovingly respond to the cries of our hearts.
Breath Prayer: LORD God, teach us to pray.