Paul’s Plea for Prayer
“I appeal to you brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.” Romans 15:30-33
This basically concludes the letter of instruction and prayers to the Romans. There is another chapter in Romans, but it is more personal in nature. It has some final instruction, but mostly it is personal greetings. This final prayer in Romans comes after Paul has reiterated his desire to come to Rome for encouragement both for himself, as well as so he could be an encouragement to the Roman Christians.
In this prayer, Paul is asking for prayer. Much the same way that Jesus asked his disciples to pray for him in the garden. In fact, the Greek word that translates to “strive together” literally means “agonize together.” And it is the same root word for “agony” that Jesus used in his prayer in the Garden. So Paul is putting emphasis to them by using the same wording. He is serious about asking for their prayers. He has learned that prayer is serious business.
In much the same way we should be serious about our prayers. In asking for prayers as well as in praying for others, especially our leaders and pastors. We should never leave our pastors or our leaders, christian leaders or not, alone without praying for them. We have all heard of pastors and leaders who have fallen from grace. And we are always astonished by it. Our tendency is to put them on a pedestal, to think they are above being tempted in the ways a common ordinary person is. But that is false thinking. Those who are standing in ministry and attempting to teach and preach the gospel are even more a target for the enemies fiery darts than the common man who may or may not be opening the word daily. We must pray for them, and if we are doing any type of ministry ourselves, we must pray and ask for prayer for ourselves as well. Now don’t get me wrong, that really means all of us, because really we are all called to ministry if we are Christians, but that is for another day. Paul knew this as he was preparing to go to serve in Jerusalem, which is why he was asking for prayers from the Romans for his upcoming service there.
Also Paul again, is praying to get to go to Rome ~ “I may come to you with joy and refreshed in your company.” Here, we get to know the rest of the story. Paul did in fact get to Rome. However not in the manner that he was expecting or praying for. He went in chains. He went with joy but he was in chains. (Acts 28) One takeaway I got from this and knowing the answer that Paul received was a reminder of all the times I have prayed for something and received an answer just not necessarily the way I was expecting. However, I can testify that I could see God’s hand and could see that there was more going on than I knew. Friends let’s be open that while we may pray for that job, or that diagnosis, or that relationship, or that ______, that we should always ask that God’s will be fulfilled above our own. It was God’s will that Paul be taken to Rome under house arrest. Paul could have argued that he could do so much more if he had had his freedom. But God knew what he wanted to accomplish through Paul in Rome. So while it is ok to pray for the job, or the relationship, or the diagnosis, we should also pray that God’s will be done and ask Him to refresh us and give us joy to walk through whatever He has put before us.
And then he ends this prayer with this one.
“May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.” Romans 15:33