Late one Saturday afternoon, my family and I stopped at a local restaurant for lunch. As the waiter set crispy fries and thick burgers on our table, my husband glanced up and asked his name. Then he said, “We pray as a family before we eat. Is there something we can pray for you today?” Allen, whose name we now knew, looked at us with a mixture of surprise and anxiety. A short silence followed before he told us that he was sleeping on his friend’s couch each night, his car had just quit working, and he was broke.
As my husband quietly asked God to provide for Allen and show him His love, I thought about how our go-between prayer was similar to what happens when the Holy Spirit takes up our cause and connects us with God. In our moments of greatest need—when we realize we’re no match to handle life on our own, when we don’t know what to say to God, “The Spirit intercedes for God’s people” (Romans 8:27). What the Spirit says is a mystery, but we’re assured that it always fits with God’s will for our lives.
The next time you pray for God’s guidance, provision, and protection in someone else’s life, let that act of kindness remind you that your spiritual needs are also being lifted to God who knows your name and cares about your problems.
The terminology Paul uses in Romans 8:31–35 are legal terms used in court. Words such as charge, justify, and condemn fit well into the passage where Paul discusses legalities, giving readers the image of a heavenly courtroom. Additionally, Paul explains that no one condemns believers in Christ (building on his statement in verse 1) because Jesus died for them and is now interceding on their behalf (v. 34). The word interceding has the idea of someone approaching a ruler in court on behalf of someone else, making petitions for them. It’s interesting to note that both Christ and the Holy Spirit do this for us (vv. 26–29, 34). Jesus, the one who could condemn believers, instead died and is now seated at the right hand of God on our behalf.