Thursday of the Week of Lent V
For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 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 the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:24-28)
Additional Daily Bible Readings: Exodus 10:19–11:10; Psalm 77; Romans 8:18–39
Weekly Reading: http://bit.ly/2Dg9nUZ
“The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.” In my 35 years of pastoral ministry, I can’t remember the number of times I have been with troubled, grieving, suffering folks, as we would cling to Paul’s words that—even when we don’t know how to pray, when words won’t come—the Spirit helps us in our weakness, praying for us, not with thoughts or words, but with sighs too deep for words.
There are times in life when all we can do is sigh, when trying to put words together seems futile and foolish. I’m remembering my first funeral. I met Rolf at the hospital after his beloved Ruby was killed by a drunk driver. She was returning home after visiting her mother. It was just before Thanksgiving, 1981. Rolf and Ruby were in their 80s and had only been married a year. Rolf had been a confirmed bachelor until Ruby won his heart. They were the sweetest, most loving couple, cherishing every moment of married life, knowing they wouldn’t have many years together. Rolf was devastated, and I was, too. We sat stunned. Words would have been an intrusion, an offense. The Spirit prayed with us in our weakness, with cries too deep for words.
That was the first of many times when the Spirit helped me in my weakness—our weakness. Have you had such times? As we said yesterday, what a blessing that we have Paul’s words, but even more, what an immeasurable blessing that we have God’s Holy Spirit to help us, strengthen us and pray with us. People often speak of “prayer partners,” but how often do we consider that the Spirit is also our partner in prayer? And it is that Spirit that reminds us, in the midst of struggle and difficulty, that regardless of what befalls us, God has a plan, and his plan is always for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. We may not always see and know the good plan that God is working for us, but that’s what faith is—hope, and trust in things not seen. May the Holy Spirit remind us of the good our God is working out for us, even though we can’t see it right now!
Prayer: Holy Spirit, come to me and pray with me! Remind me of God’s good will! Amen.
Lenten Response: Are you a prayer partner with and for someone? Commit yourself to praying for someone every day.
Video Devotional: From Ashes to Easter
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.