February 25 - Romans 15:30-33

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Romans 15:30-33 – Pray For Me

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed. The God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Paul isn't looking for one of those prayers that we all know we might get when someone quickly says "Oh, I'll pray for you." He's looking for a wholehearted, laying down before God, throwing everything you have into it … prayer.

He is asking the Christians in Rome to join in his struggle by praying for him. Paul is a man of God and his prayer life is incredible. He spends hours and hours in prayer for the people who have come to know Jesus Christ, whether through his ministry or someone else's. It matters not to him, it only matters that they know Jesus Christ.

Prayer is the one thing that connects all believers. We become part of another's struggle by praying for them. For the young couple who has just left to begin a lifetime of international mission, for the daughter who is dealing with cancer, for the father who has to have surgery, for elderly cat or dog who is facing health issues, for the husband who is searching for a job, for a friend's sister who has lost her way, for a woman who hates her job, for the child who is abused, for those who are completely unknown but are living in harm's way.  We are connected to each of these people through prayer.

Paul then moves to the reason he is asking for prayer. He is concerned about his journey to Jerusalem. He wasn't readily accepted by the church there because of his beliefs about Gentile Christians. The Jewish Christians in Jerusalem believed that all new Christians must adhere to the Law. If they accepted the offering he brought from the Gentile believers, they might be seen as accepting a bribe or as accepting the work he was doing in the world. Because of their beliefs, it is possible they might see this offering as dirty money, coming from unclean people.

The outcome Paul was praying for was that he might be accepted by the church in Jerusalem and then be allowed to come soon to Rome. If you read Acts 21, you will find that Paul was accepted by the leaders of the church in Jerusalem, but was soon arrested because of an uproar by the Jews in the city.