Romans 8:26-30

Romans 8:26-30


Ask God to guide your discussions and to experience his presence as you read his word together.

Describe a time when you felt weak, needy, or vulnerable. What was going on in your life? What was the hardest thing about that season?

In this week’s passage, we are learning about how the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We often don’t even know what to pray for when we suffer. In these times, the Spirit prays on our behalf, bringing our deepest needs before the Father and the Son, even though we can’t even articulate them. And the Spirit’s prayers ultimately lead to our good and glory.


Read Romans 8:26-30 aloud.


  • In verse 26, Paul tells us the Spirit prays for us with “groaning” too deep for words. Read back in verses 22-23. What is the “groaning” referring to in these passages? And how might that shape our understanding of verse 26? 1
  • In verse 27, Paul says that the one “who searches the heart knows what is the mind of the Spirit.” What does this verse mean? Read Psalm 139:23 and Jeremiah 17:10. 2
  • In verse 27, Paul says that the Spirit prays for the saints according to the will of God. This could either mean that it is God’s will for the Spirit to pray for us or that the Spirit prays for God’s will to be done in our lives and on our behalf. Which of these interpretations do you favor, and why?
  • In verse 28, Paul assures us that all things ultimately work together for good for God’s people. How might this relate to verse 27, where Paul says that the Spirit prays for us according to the will of God? 3
  • In verses 29-30, Paul articulates the big contours of God’s saving work: predestination, calling, justification, and glorification. How do these verses relate to Paul’s larger argument about the Spirit’s intercessory work on our behalf? 4


  • Have you ever experienced a time of suffering and weakness where you weren’t even sure what to pray for? What is your go-to emotion or source of comfort in times like these?
  • While suffering, life can often feel meaningless. A venture we worked so hard to start has failed. A relationship we invested years in is over. A child that we loved and poured our lives into has died. These seasons can leave us deeply confused and disoriented, wondering if life has any meaning at all. Yet Paul promises that it is precisely in those moments that the Spirit is praying for us, and as a result, we can be assured that God will ultimately work “all things” for our good. How do you feel when you hear God will work all things for our ultimate good? Have you ever seen God take your suffering and turn it for your good?
  • The point of this passage is not to call us to “do” anything. Instead, it is designed to make us aware of what the “Spirit” is already doing on our behalf: the Spirit prays for us in our suffering, and the prayers of the Spirit ultimately lead to our good and glory. How aware are you of the Spirit’s prayers for you in times of suffering? Why do you think that is?
  • How should we respond to the Spirit’s ministry to us in Christ? Close your time by reading Romans 8:31-39.


In Romans 8, we have seen the following: the Spirit unites us to Jesus in whom there is no condemnation (justification); the Spirit joins us to Jesus the Son, and thereby we also become sons (adoption); the Spirit prays for us in times of suffering, and His prayers lead ultimately to our good and glory (intercession).

In this time, thank the Spirit for His ministry in your lives and pray for an increasing awareness of His presence and power.
 1 In verses 22-23, Paul is describing how we, along with all creation, are “groaning.” Like a woman in labor groans in pain as looks forward to the birth of her child, so we groan in pain as we look forward to the return of Christ and the resurrection and renewal of all things. In verse 26, the, Paul says that there will be times when the suffering of life in a fallen world is so great that we don’t even know what to pray for. In these moments, the Spirit himself will groan on our behalf and give prayerful voice to our deepest longing before the Father and the Son.

The “one who searches the heart” is referring to the Father, who knows every thought, intention, and desire of our hearts. And Paul is saying Father knows the “mind of the Spirit” because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. In other words, the Spirit of God who dwells in us makes his mind known to the Father when he tells the Father our deepest needs and prays for us according to God’s will.

It is likely that Paul’s logic goes like this:
  • Verse 26: When we suffer and don’t know what to pray, the Spirit prays for us
  • Verse 27: When the Spirit prays to the Father on our behalf, he prays that God’s will would be done in our lives.
  • Verse 28: The Father always listens to the Spirit’s prayers, which is why everything in our lives, even our suffering, will ultimately work out for our good.

 4 Paul’s logic is as follows:
  • The Spirit prays the will of God for us when we suffer and don’t know what to pray (26-27)
  • The will of God is ultimately to glorify his people (29-30; cf. v. 23)
  • Because the Spirit prays the will of God for us, we can be assured that all things will ultimately work together for our good, even our suffering (28)