Use this devo as you are able, in whole or in part. Don’t feel compelled to read it all. Simply read and meditate upon whatever catches your attention. The goal is enjoying time with God through His Word and in prayer. Questions about the devotional elements?

Call to Prayer

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Eph. 5:14)

Prayer of Confession

Sovereign God, we need true leaders, not pompous windbags or self-appointed religious experts. We need human leaders who have your heart and know your ways, called servants in whom I see your wisdom, justice, and compassion. For these shepherds I pray. Amen. (Prayer based on the Belgic Confession, Question 31)

*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

Reading Plan

This reading plan will help you to develop the habit of being in God’s Word each morning and evening. Come to this time with expectation. Expect God to reveal himself to you. Expect that he delights in you being there, even when you’ve wandered away. Growing a spiritual habit is a slow, patient process. So be kind to yourself as you grow! 

Readings are hyperlinked. Simply hover over the passage or click Morning/Evening Reading (email version).

Morning Readings:

Pray Psalm 93 | Read 2 Corinthians 12

  • Praying the Psalms: Read slowly. Take note of words and phrases. Bring them before the Lord in prayer and personalize the passage as you pray.
  • NT Context: “Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is a classic of pastoral response: affectionate, firm, clear, and unswerving in the conviction that God among them, revealed in Jesus and present in his Holy Spirit, continued to be the central issue in their lives, regardless of how much of a mess they had made of things.” Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.

Evening Readings:

Pray Psalm 94 | Read Nehemiah 4

  • OT Context: “Nehemiah started out as a government worker in the employ of a foreign king. Then he became—and this is the work he tells us of in these memoirs—a building contractor, called in to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. His coworker Ezra was a scholar and teacher, working with the Scriptures. Nehemiah worked with stones and mortar. The stories of the two men are interwoven in a seamless fabric of vocational holiness. Neither job was more or less important or holy than the other. Nehemiah needed Ezra; Ezra needed Nehemiah. God’s people needed the work of both of them. We still do. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?

Sermon Devo

We are in our Spring series in Romans 8. Each day we will dig into a different aspect of this incomparable chapter and see how it alters the way we live “in Christ!”

Read: Romans 8:26-27

It’s Wednesday and Ray Ortlund’s commentary on our passage is too good not to share in its entirety. So, if you’ll excuse the length, let’s sit with his explanation of how the Spirit helps us weak Christians: 

“…in verses 26-27, Paul returns to the work of the Holy Spirit. We have even more than God’s promises to motivate us; we also have God’s direct help right now. All of Romans 8 argues assurance, certainty. God loves us, and God wants us to know that he loves us. The felt love of God produces heroic Christians. And just as the Spirit bears witness to our spirits that we are children of God (v. 16), so ‘likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness’ (v. 26) – all for our encouragement. 

The word translated help is the same one used in Luke 10:40 when Martha was complaining to Jesus about Mary. Martha had been slaving over that hot oven for Jesus, she had set the table with her best china, she was hustling and bustling during the meal, but the task was more than she could cope with. She needed help. She needed Mary to pitch in and bear the burden with her. So Martha said, ‘Tell her to help me.’ That is our word here in verse 26. The Spirit helps us. He undertakes to lighten our load. You and I have a heavy burden to bear. We need a friend to come along and work with us. Why? Because of our ‘weakness’. 

We are not strong but weak. How are we weak? Well, how aren’t we weak? Brokenness, unmet needs, emptiness, confusion, weariness, unbelief, fear, dullness, depression, bewilderment, sin – we can be so overwhelmed with the crushing weight of this existence that we do not even know how to pray. The very enormity of our struggles silences us. We do not know what to pray for, as Paul says here. We may be paralyzed in helpless indecision. We may be too distressed to utter a coherent prayer at all. We are weak. 

Christians are not always on top of things. Where in the Bible are we taught to expect unruffled composure and unbroken victory? Sometimes life is so troubling, we feel defeated even in prayer. And if we cannot pray, we are really in trouble. At that very moment when we most need to draw upon God’s promises through prayer – what if we fail at that vital point of connection, when it really counts? Will our weakness bungle the purpose of God? Under normal conditions we tell ourselves that, when all else fails, we can fall back on prayer. But what if we do come to the end of ourselves and our own devices only to discover that we do not even know what to pray, we do not know how to connect the Bible with our experience, and God seems far away? What then? What encouragement can we look to beyond our own radical weakness? 

When we are reduced to helplessness, the Holy Spirit will help us. Have you ever thought of the Holy Spirit as a gracious person who steps in to offer, ‘May I help? May I bear that burden with you? You’re in anguish over your children. You feel forsaken by God. You don’t know how to negotiate that important decision. You’re lonely. You’re tempted. You’re sinful. You need to pray. May I help?’ The Holy Spirit does not reproach us. He ‘gives generously to all without making them feel foolish or guilty’ (James 1:5, Phillips). 

But how does the Holy Spirit help us? Now we enter into deep mystery. The Spirit helps us by interceding for us, Paul explains. When we are too defeated and confused to pray, when the familiar phrases just do not seem adequate any more, when all we can do is groan, the Spirit makes his own appeal on our behalf….

So in verse 23, we groan. In verse 26, the Spirit groans – through our own struggles in prayer. He is in our struggles, directing our faith to God, not letting our faith die, helping our hope to persevere. He is lifting, through our wordless yearnings, prayers that he himself translates into the wisdom of heaven. 

We still agonize. And sometimes we may teeter on the very edge of the abyss. But why is it that our hearts still lay hold of God and refuse to let go? The Holy Spirit is helping us. He creates in us a rugged insistence that our God is a mighty fortress. He deepens our faith with fresh insight into God’s promises. He shows us how desperate our need for God really is. He stirs up God-ward desires and prompts in us frequent, if inarticulate, visits to the throne of grace.

And, according to verse 27, the Father discerns within our heavy-hearted yearnings the clear mind, the godly intention, the winning voice of the Holy Spirit. In searching the sighs of our hearts, God finds the Spirit. And Paul’s point in the second half of verse 27 is that this helping ministry of the Spirit is God’s will for the saints. So if all you can do is lift your heart-cry to God, that does not prove that you are not a saint. Just the opposite. This is God’s way with ‘the saints’.

REFLECT: Is this your relationship with God? Do you feel like you need to come to him with everything figured out, the right answers, and “just the right words” to say? Or are you learning to come to your heavenly Father with empty hands and nothing left but need for him? 

Evening Prayer of Examen

  • Where did you move with or feel close to Jesus today?
  • Where did you resist or feel far from Jesus today?
  • Where is Jesus leading you tomorrow? Ask for joy as you follow him.


“Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Heb. 13:20-21)