Prayer is essential to the Christian life.
But we must realize that prayer is a
We pray to the Father.
The Holy Spirit is
our advocate and intercessor in the process
(John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7)
We cannot truly pray without the Holy Spirit’s assistance.
Through Jesus Christ, we have access to the Father
by the Holy Spirit
who helps and intercedes for us with inarticulate groans.
"In language we cannot understand,
searches the human heart,
the abode of the Spirit,
to hear the Spirit’s prayer.
When the Father
hears his will
being prayed by the Spirit
(because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will),
then the Father and Spirit are in
for the purposes of God to be accomplished
in the believer
through the instrument of prayer”
We live in a fallen world that is not our permanent home
(Hebrews 13:14; Philippians 3:20).
We are caught between “our present sufferings”
and the future
“glory that will be revealed in us”
We are hounded by weaknesses within
(Matthew 26:41; 2 Corinthians 12:5–10)
and powerful enemies without
We can pray with words using our
but God has not
left us alone in this endeavor.
He has given us the ministry of the Holy Spirit
who prays on our behalf
with groanings that cannot be uttered.
We can rely on the Spirit’s divine intellect
and infinite vision
to pray effectively according to
good purpose and will
(1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 6:18–20; Jude 1:20).
God works all things together for good—both
His good and our good.
As God is glorified, His people
In Romans 8, Paul contrasts a life lived in
selfish pursuits (the flesh) and one lived in league with,
or in accordance with,
God (the Spirit).
He impresses upon readers that
our sovereign God is all-knowing, all-wise, and all-powerful.
Those who love God can
His goodness, His power, and
His will to work out all things
for our good.
We journey together
The promise that God works all things together for good does not mean that all things, taken by themselves, are good. Some things and events are decidedly bad. But God is able to work them together for good.
He sees the big picture;
He has a master
Neither does the promise that God works
all things together for good
mean we will acquire all that we want or desire.
Romans 8:28 is about God’s goodness
and our confidence that
His plan will work out as
He sees fit.
Since His plan is always good, Christians
can take confidence that,
our circumstances or environments,
God is active and will conclude
to His good and wise design.
With this knowledge we can learn to be content
(see Philippians 4:11).
The fact that God works all things together for good means
God’s plan will not be thwarted.
In fact, we are part of His plan, having been
“called according to his purpose”
When we trust God and His way, we can be sure that
He is active and powerful on our behalf
(see Ephesians 3:20).
God knows the future, and
His desires will be accomplished.
“I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please’”
Even when things seem chaotic and out of control,
God is still in charge.
We sometimes worry about what’s happening to us
because we do not know what is best for us.
But God does.
The principle of God working all things together
for good is well illustrated in the Old Testament
account of Joseph’s life.
Early in Joseph’s life, Joseph’s jealous brothers
sold him into slavery.
In Egypt, Joseph rises to a position of responsibility.
Then, he is unjustly imprisoned and forgotten about by his friends.
God gifts him
the ability to interpret dreams,
and through that ability Joseph is once again raised to a place of honor
and power. When drought forces Joseph’s brothers to seek food elsewhere,
they travel to Egypt and encounter Joseph,
who eventually saves them from starvation and
grants them a livelihood in his new land.
Throughout his life, Joseph trusted God no matter his good or bad circumstances. Joseph experienced plenty of bad things: kidnapping, slavery, false accusations, wrongful imprisonment, rejection, and famine. But in the end God brought things to a wonderful, life-affirming conclusion.
God blessed Joseph’s entire family through
those painful circumstances and
through Joseph’s faith.
(You can read about Joseph’s life beginning in Genesis 37.)
Paul’s life is another testament to how God works all things together for good. Paul suffered shipwrecks, beatings, imprisonment, murder attempts, temporary blindness, and more—all within God’s plan to spread the gospel (see Acts 9:16 and 2 Corinthians 11:24–27). Through it all, God was steadfastly working to bring about good and glorious results.
After promising that God works all things
together for our good,
Romans 8 concludes with the wonderful fact
that God trumps everything that comes against Him
and those who belong to Him.
The Christian is assured
that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love:
“Who shall separate us from
the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine
or nakedness or danger or sword? . . .
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers, neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”
God’s love is everlasting, and His wisdom is infinite.
It doesn’t matter who or what attempts to thwart God’s plan;
no one and nothing can.
God will work all things together for the good
of those who love Him.
Our decision to align our will with God’s
and to always
trust Him will be rewarded.