Holy Spirit as Intercessor

Good morning. It is Friday, July 31, 2015. Last day of July.

Today’s word of the day, from the Oxford English Dictionary, is mampus. This is a noun, simply meaning, “A great number, a crowd.” An example sentence is given, from Thomas Hardy’s Dynasts, in 1904. “What a mampus o’ folk it is here to-day!”

Today is System Administration Appreciation Day Also known as Sysadmin Day (or SAD, for short), it is a day to shower your IT peeps with love and kindness. After all, where would your business be without them, right?

Today is the day that Christi will be working late because they are migrating some systems tonight, speaking of Syadmins. She said they are appreciating them by making them work all night. šŸ™‚ I’m not exactly sure what is happening, but the word “migration” was in her description of it. What I do know is that it is the official beginning of the new bowling year tomorrow. Most leagues won’t be starting up for a few more weeks, yet, but the systems need to be in place and working before that happens. The last time I was in a league, I think everything was still done on paper. How the times have changed. The USBC even has a phone app, now, where you can find all your data if you are a member.

Today is also the day that I might have to work late, just like every Friday. It all depends on how much freight we get in today. If it is a mampus, we will likely work late, because all the receiving has to be finished today.

The Red Sox won a game last night. That’s a big deal, lately. The Rangers won, as well, managing to split the series with the Evil Empire. That helped the Red Sox, too. Thank you, Rangers. Also, it is expected to be confirmed today that the Rangers have traded Matt Harrison and five other minor league players for Cole Hamels and a reliever, from the Phillies. I’m still not sure how I feel about this. Hamels recently pitched a no-hitter for the Phillies, who are the worst team in MLB right now. He is also 31 years old, which isn’t exactly young for a MLB pitcher. Sure, Nolan Ryan pitched for something like 27 seasons. But that was Nolan Ryan.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Today’s Bible reading is Genesis 28-29 and Matthew 8. Genesis 28 begins with Isaac sending Jacob away to Laban’s place, his uncle. I think I misspoke yesterday, saying that he was Rebekah’s uncle. He was her brother, and Jacob’s uncle. When Esau heard Isaac tell Jacob not to take a Canaanite wife, he went and did exactly that, since he was all about not pleasing his parents. Jacob, during his travels, has the “Jacob’s Ladder” dream, in which God promises him the same promise he made Abraham. Jacob names the place Bethel, which means “House of God.”

A lot of time passes in Genesis 29. Laban’s true nature comes out, as he deceives Jacob. Jacob works seven years in order to gain the hand of Rachel, Laban’s youngest daughter. But on the wedding night, Laban sends Leah in to Jacob, instead of Rachel. When Jacob complains the next morning, Laban tells him that it is against their traditions to wed the younger before the elder, but if Jacob will work another seven years for him, he can have Rachel, too. Jacob eagerly agrees. Leah had four sons, while Rachel remained barren, the reason given being that the Lord saw that Jacob hated Leah.

Matthew 8 begins with Jesus healing a leper. This is followed by the story of the Centurion who came, asking Jesus to heal his servant, but stating that he was not worthy to have Jesus come to his home. “Only say the word, and my servant will be healed,” the Centurion said, causing Jesus to marvel at his faith. Later, Jesus goes to Peter’s house and heals Peter’s mother-in-law (the only indication we ever get that Peter was married), as well as many other people who are brought to the house that evening. Several people come to Jesus, asking to follow him, but he actually discourages them, letting them know how difficult it is. After this, as Jesus and the disciples are going across the lake, Jesus calms a storm. The chapter ends with Jesus casting demons out of two men, sending the demons into a herd of pigs.

Today’s Psalm from Heart Aflame is Psalm 89:32-33. It is the continuation of the sentence from yesterday’s reading.

. . . then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes,
but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness.

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

The last time we visited this book, we talked about the Spirit of adoption which allows us to call God “Abba.” There is another way the Spirit helps us in prayer. He is also an intercessor for us, as seen in Romans 8:26-28.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

There is some debate over what the “groanings” are, but Keller states that it is the fact that, even though we know the truth of Romans 8:28, “seldom can we discern what that good actually is. In other words, most of the time, we don’t know exactly what outcome we should pray for.” I have experience this many times, especially when engaging in intercessory prayer. Someone might request prayer for a specific outcome, and I cannot discern in my spirit if this is the outcome they truly need, so I’m not sure how to pray. In these cases, “the Spirit . . . makes our groaning his groaning, putting his prayers to the Father inside our prayers.” He also places within us “a deep, inexpressible longing to do God’s will and see his glory.” As this happens, our Father hears us “praying for what is both truly best for us and pleasing to him.” “The Spirit enables us to long for the future glory of God and his will, even though we don’t know the specific thing we should pray for her and now.”

Father, increase my faith and confidence in this Spirit as intercessor. Help me to know that, even when I don’t know what is truly best to pray for, the Spirit is interceding along with me, putting his prayers inside mine, assuring that your answer to those prayer will be what is best for everyone concerned, most especially for the sake of your glory. So often, I can only pray, “Your will be done, on earth as in heaven.” I have prayed for what people have requested, but not felt that this was the best outcome for them. In those cases, I believe that your Spirit helps my prayer by interceding and asking for what is truly your will. Give me this confidence when I pray.

I pray for this day, as always, asking for traveling grace in both directions. May your grace fill our day with peace and not stress. However, whatever may come, may we be in tune with your Spirit, and centered on your holiness. I pray for Stephanie, today, that she would know your great lovingkindness. I continue to pray for Rachel’s thesis process, that you would give her confidence to know that she has done a good job and to properly defend her thesis. May your grace and mercy fall on my mother, and I pray that, if she ventures out with friends today, she will have an awesome time.

Your grace is truly amazing and sufficient.

May we all have the confidence to know that, when we don’t know what to pray, the Spirit intercedes for us, making our prayers line up with God’s perfect will.

Grace and peace, friends.

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