KEY TEXT: Rom 8:22-23 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
KEY THOT: The word “groan” is used 3 times in this passage: “groan together” (v.22); “groan inwardly” (v.23); “inexpressible groanings” (v.26, NET). The reason for the groaning is similar to the groaning of an expectant mother because of birth-pains. So, Paul is here referring to the groanings of creation, children of God and the Spirit for the birth of the coming new creation to bring an end to present decaying of nature and human bodies because of sin. The idea of groaning suggests grieving for the present state of affairs and longing for it to end in glorious deliverance.
2. What are you receiving or hearing from God?
Paul says in Romans 8:26 that we do not know how to pray “as we ought” but the Spirit helps us pray with “groanings too deep for words”. In other words, prayer that is according to the will of God aligns us with his kingdom purpose of redeeming creation and bringing His children into his kingdom. Spirit-inspired prayer is always missional and redemptive—to seek for God’s will to be done on earth and for His kingdom to come.
3. How can I respond or obey God?
I have to constantly check myself to align my prayer with the redemption of creation and the birth of God's children. Like a mother expecting a baby, her thoughts is not focused on her own comfort and welfare alone, but on the new life that she is bringing into the world. She endures the pain of child-birth because of what it leads too. Even so, I must also be willing to endure some “pains” (tiredness, hunger, inconveniences, late nights, etc) to be part of God's redemption of His creation and his children.
4. Write out your prayer.
Father, may we share in the Spirit’s groaning for the redemption of the creation, including Your children, so that we may see a new day when all creation will be renewed and redeemed. Amen.