God searches our hearts

The fourth part of Dr Davies’s Devotionals on Romans 8.26-27 from the EM W Daily Devotions

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.

Romans 8:27

In the previous devotion I shared about a time when, on hearing my University fees would not be paid, I struggled to pray. I was shaken, and confused, as there were mixed-up ‘groans’ and desires in my heart coupled with a desire to continue supporting the Christian Union and preparing myself for future ministry. What was the Lord’s purpose? Slowly I was reassured the Lord was in charge and over a period of four days, verses 26 and 27 encouraged me. We all face these times in our lives, but these verses can help you too. Let me explain.

First, there is comfort for Christians knowing that God the Father ‘searches hearts’; He knows how we feel and what we desire. He sees beyond our words, shyness, and silence – we cannot fool him! If others do not understand us, then God our Father knows us perfectly and loves us unconditionally. That is a comfort, and it is all that really matters.

Second, as God the Father searches our hearts, he finds desires, burdens, and cries no one else sees or knows about. Our heavenly Father knows what is deep in our hearts. Motives, desires, contrition, fears and burdens are all known to Him. In my own experience as a student, and as I began to pour out my heart to the Lord, I was humbled as He searched my motives. Within two days, I had recognised that my disappointment was within God’s plan, but I did not know the Lord was testing me. Had studying become an idol in my life? My heart was being searched but, though difficult to pray, there was a cry in my heart for the Lord and his help. His will was important to me. My heavenly Father was searching and reading my innermost being. He will also do this to all His children, you may be experiencing it today.

Third, in reading the desires and burdens of our hearts, the omniscient God accepts the intercession of the Holy Spirit, mixed with our own inward groanings. That should be no surprise to us as the Holy Spirit himself is God and his intercession is consistent with the intercession of Christ, God’s Son, in heaven who also prays for believers. Both the Spirit and the Son intercede for the ‘saints’ whom the Father has chosen in infinite love from eternity. The assurance given here is that the Spirit’s intercession within our hearts will always be acceptable to God the Father for he intercedes ‘for the saints according to the will of God’. There is no mistake on the Spirit’s part for there is perfect unity, agreement, and love on the part of Father, Son and Spirit. What a privilege to have the Spirit and the Son interceding on our part. Help is available for us in prayer. Remember that our Lord’s intercession for us in heaven is reflected in, and consistent with, the Spirit’s intercession within us. There is perfect harmony and as we pray, we are caught up in this exciting dimension of divine interaction. Take advantage of our divine ‘Helper’ and remember our Saviour’s prayers in heaven for us too.

On a personal note, I found those four days of confusion and disappointment of wrestling with the possibility of not returning to University an enormous challenge and blessing. Slowly, my desires and motives were searched, and I knew the Spirit’s help in knowing the Lord. On the fourth morning, I received a letter informing me that the previous letter was ‘a mistake’ and was intended for someone else. I was so grateful for their ‘mistake’ and for the Holy Spirit’s help as I tried to pray. The ‘mistake’ was the Lord’s sovereign way of testing me so I could know Him better, whatever the circumstances. The same Holy Spirit can help us all in prayer. Be encouraged by these two verses but be real and honest with the Lord in prayer!

The Holy Spirit is your helper.

Dr Eryl Davies (Heath Church Cardiff)

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