40 Pocket Prayers: Romans 8


What is the Spirit of Adoption

Reverend Adam Clarke gets the nod on this prayer from Lucado. Clarke was a Methodist minister and Bible scholar; his full Bible commentary is well known and where we get the explanation of the Biblical verse the “Spirit of Adoption” means. Clarke writes this is about where frequent a person was taken out of one family and incorporated with another.

In Greek, Hebrew and later Roman cultures, it was common that wealthy people who had no children of their own, adopted those of another family. My own family did this with my mother because she was the last of ten children and my grandparents, embarrassed by their riches, thought it would be best that she be raised in a household where her parents were younger and had more to share — obviously last in line she would not benefit from their wealth as much as those older.

Clarke writes that the rationale was that this “agreement” was the child adopted ceased to belong to his own family, and was totally bound to the person who had adopted him, as if he were their own child. When the adoptive father died, his estate went to the adopted child who then received the money and the responsibility for his adopted mother until her death. If instead there were other children in the family, then the adopted child received a share equal to the blood children. The Romans, great organizers and codifiers of legislature, had regular forms of law by which these matters were settled.

The mutuality of adoption

So the point of the verse and Lucado’s prayer, is that now in that Spirit, God has adopted us as his children. We are now like Christ — we too have been given everything, His love, His Mercy, , His many riches to enjoy. God has opened his whole heart to us and in return we offer our worship, our prayers and heartfelt appreciation as thankful repayment. It seems the only right and honorable thing to do for Someone who has done so much for us, because honestly, how can you not love Him for all of that? It really is such a wonderful gift, this thing we call Life and once you realize that, how could you not want to protect that inheritance for others to share.

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