Romans 8:34 is one of the most comforting verses in the Bible. Every time I read that Jesus is in God’s presence interceding for me, I can’t help but smile and be grateful that the only One with the power to condemn is instead representing me in the throne room. As Christians, we love to know that God cares about our prayers, that Jesus is interceding for us, that the Holy Spirit prays for us with groans that words can’t express. Those are some of our favorite platitudes, because they remind us that God is listening, that He wants to hear what we have to say.
But what about what everyone else has to say? Have you ever stepped away from your list of personal prayer requests and realized that, all around the world, millions of your brothers and sisters are crying out to God as well? Have you ever thought about how much God cares for their prayers, too? Jesus isn’t just in heaven to represent you. The Spirit’s groans aren’t just for you. We often pray that God will break our hearts for what breaks His, and we usually mean that we want God to give us a warm, fuzzy, bittersweet empathy for the poor starving children in Africa, but what if we really thought about what we’re saying? What if we realized that God’s heart breaks for your friend whose parents are going through an ugly divorce, or for your classmate who doesn’t have the money to pay for his rent next month, or for the pastor whose congregation is falling apart and who doesn’t know what to do, or for the persecuted brother who is locked away in prison and despised for his faith? Would we be willing to spend a little less time praying for our own worries and a little more time interceding for theirs? Would we be compelled to care about the lives of those around us like God cares about them? May our hearts be aligned with God’s in such a way that we truly weep with those who are weeping, rejoice with those who are rejoicing, and pray with those who are begging God to move in their lives. He is deeply moved by what weighs heavily on their hearts. Are you?