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The Spirit Intercedes

19 May 2024

By Kathryn Goheen, Theology Formation Team

We know that the whole creation has been groaning together as it suffers together the pains of labor, and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope, for who hopes for what one already 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 that very Spirit intercedes with groanings too deep for words. And God, who searches hearts, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Romans 8:22–27

As a child, I often froze in indecision over my birthday cake—all eyes on me as I struggled to form a wish over the lit candles. I had read a lot of fairy tales and knew that every wish contained its own undoing, and I was afraid of being too selfish. At the same time, I didn’t want to miss this opportunity for simple birthday joy!

If the tradition of wishing over birthday candles is complicated, what about prayer? The act of prayer asks me: Who am I? What is life? Who is God? What is the relationship between me and creation? How can this prayer transcend wishful thinking?

In my most heart-felt prayers I ask Spirit to teach me how to pray over what is before me and ask Spirit to hold it in the kind of life-giving love that will be a blessing regardless of my efforts or limited viewpoint. The humility of not knowing opens the door to greater communion with God.

This scripture is about waiting in hope amid distress. It’s about knowing what is mine and what is not mine. It’s about claiming my unique, small space in relationship with creation. This hope, this growth, this salvation is what our hearts bend toward. How fortunate we are to have this consolation!

Prayer Phrase

“What can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Spiritual Practice

Breathe Hope

Find a quiet space where you can sit without distractions. Light a candle. Take a few deep breaths, allowing your body to relax with each exhale. As you breathe, let go of any tension or worries you may be holding onto. Take notice of the way the flame dances and flickers, casting light and shadow in the room. As you observe the flame, imagine it symbolizing the spark of hope within you. With each breath, imagine the flame growing brighter and stronger. Visualize this light spreading throughout your body, filling you with a sense of hope and positivity. Take a moment to express gratitude for the blessings in your life, no matter how small they may seem.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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