Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK SIX
ORBIT – DAY TWENTY EIGHT
Hello and welcome to another Orbit – the daily devotional from the youth team at St Mary’s Reigate. Each day we give you a short passage of the Bible to reflect on, a way of putting it into practice in your life, and a chance to pray and reflect. At the moment we’re working our way through Paul’s letter to the Romans, as the writer continues to explain some of the most central ideas of the Christian faith to the early church.
BIBLE READING – Romans 8: 26-28
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.
In some ways, Paul’s writing is like London buses. Some of what he writes can feel a little hard to understand, or perhaps doesn’t quite feel easy to apply to everyday life – and then bam, he says two things in the space of a couple of sentences that are utterly mindblowing. I realise that’s not hugely like the way London buses work, but it’s good to have an intro.
So – first of all, in this short passage, Paul explains how the Holy Spirit helps us to pray. Sometimes we feel a bit done in by life; we don’t actually have the words to articulate what we want to need or say to God. Have you ever had that experience? That feeling of being so overwhelmed by a situation – or situations – that you just don’t even feel able to form words into a prayer? Paul says that when that happens, the Holy Spirit takes over. When we don’t even know what to pray for, the Spirit prays on our behalf – inviting God to search our hearts. All we need to do is adopt a position of prayer – God does the rest.
I don’t know about you, but I find that pretty incredible. If we find prayer hard – if we don’t know quite how to form the words, it doesn’t matter. God can work out and understand perfectly what we need. But that’s not all – that’s only one of our London buses…
The second amazing thing that Paul writes in these short verses is that God is always working for our good. He says that in all situations – even the ones we find really sad or difficult – God is working for the good of those who love him.
It’s perhaps easy to see how God might be working in situations that seem to turn out well for us immediately. When we pass an exam, or get a job, or see some other prayer answered, it all makes sense. But isn’t it encouraging to hear that even in those moments that don’t turn out at all as we’d hoped, God is still working. Not causing that situation, but bringing good out of it all the same?
There’s perhaps a thread that links these two big encouragements: that God is as active in our pain, our uncertainty and our confusion, as he is in the good times, and when all feels right in the world. For the past year we’ve felt a whole bunch of emotions, and at times struggled to know where to find God, or even to speak to him. This passage reminds us that all through this time of pandemic – as hard and horrible as it has been – God has heard our silent prayers, and he has been working, all along, for our good.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
I thank you Lord that you don’t require clever or poetic words of prayer. You simply want to be with us, and when you are with us, you know us better than we know ourselves. Help us today to trust you in the fog of the present moment, and remind us continually that you are working for our good, even when we can’t yet see or understand the effects. Amen
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
Spend some time today in intercession – that is – praying for people and situations in the world. Perhaps start with issues that are close to home – in the local community and church, and then move on to pray about some of the problems facing the country. Finally, pick a couple of situations in other countries to pray about – use a news website to help you if you need some inspiration. All through this time of prayer, remember that when we don’t know what to pray, the Spirit takes over. So become aware of when the Holy Spirit is with you, praying alongside and through you. What an amazing thing – that we can not only pray to, but with God!
If you want to get in touch, you can always email email@example.com, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.
We’ll be back with another edition of Orbit tomorrow. Thanks for taking part today!