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Romans 15:30-33

WILL YOU PRAY FOR ME?

Intro: Paul was without a doubt one of the greatest, if not the greatest, Christian who has ever lived. He was a man of power who was used of God in some very magnificent ways. He saw the Lord work more miracles and save more souls that you and I would probably see in several lifetimes. You would think a man of his stature would have needed no one or nothing. However, such is not the case. Several times in the writing of Paul, 1 Thes. 5:25; 2 Thes. 3:1; Heb. 13:18, he is found asking the people of God to pray for him. Here is a man who is on top of the heap spiritually speaking, yet he feels the need to have God's children battling for him in prayer. Yet, here is a man who is keenly aware of the benefit of having the saints of God lift you up in prayer.

As Paul is asking the question, "Who will pray for me?", he is also illustrating for us one of the greatest privileges that is ours a believers. We have the privilege of being part of the ministry and work of others. When we pray for them and carry them and their needs before the Lord, we have a part in their ministry. So, while Paul is asking for people to lift him up, he is also inviting them to join him as he serves the Lord!

You see, down through the years, God has given us some great spiritual giants. However, behind every one of them were people who prayed and touched heaven on their behalf. The names of the prayer partners may not be remembered here, but when the rewards are handed out at the Judgment Seat of Christ, those who labored in the closets will receive as much as those who labored in the field! Let's look at Paul's closing plea to the Roman Christians. He seems to be asking "Who will pray for me?" It just may be that this message will remind us of the importance of intercessory prayer and that we will get busy praying about the needs in the lives of those around us!

I. V. 30 A CALL FOR DILIGENCE IN PRAYER

(Ill. Paul says that he "beseeches" then to join with him in praying for his work. This is a strong word! It is the same word used in Romans 12:1. There Paul called them to present their bodies to the Lord. Here they are called on to join him in a ministry of prayer. The word "beseech" comes from a word that means, "to call to ones side, or to draft into service." It gives the impression of an SOS. Paul is saying, "I need your help! I am drafting you to come alongside of me and help me pray about some things." Like a half-back in the Super Bowl. He may be fast, but if he doesn't have some folks blocking for him, he will be on the ground in short order. So, those in spiritual ministry need others out in front blocking for them!)

A. The Motive Of Prayer - Paul tells them that he isn't asking selfishly about needing their prayers. He wants them to know that he is asking because he wants Jesus to receive all the glory. Paul's request isn't for himself, but for the glory of God!

Friends, this should be the overriding theme of every prayer we pray! Can we really pray that prayer in faith knowing that it is for the glory of God? If not, then we need not pray that prayer, 1 Cor. 10:31; Rom. 14:23.

(Note: There are times when people will ask me to pray about some matter or the other and they already know how they want it to turn out. Well, often, I don't have liberty to pray the way they want me to! I have to pray, "Lord, if it's your will, do this or that..."; or, "Lord, if it will glorify you do this or that..." We need to be careful how we pray!)

Notice also that Paul says for "Jesus' sake and for the love of the Spirit." When we are saved and the Spirit of God indwells us, one of the first things He does is He gives us a love for the people of God, Rom. 5:5. This love of God in us is one of the major reasons why we pray one for another. If I love you, I will be concerned about what affects you and I will want to help you pray about it. So, pray should be birthed out of a desire to glorify God and out of love for God's people.

B. The Ministry Of Prayer - Lastly, Paul calls upon these Christians to "strive" with him in prayer. This word carries the idea of entering into a fight with some one else. It is the same word from which we get the English word "agony." It is the same word used of Jesus when He prayed in Gethsemane, Luke 22:44. It pictures prayer as "wrestling". Brother, that's just what it is! I don't care what you name in the Christian life, it is easier than praying! Why? Because the devil and the forces of evil will fight your attempts at a consistent prayer life more than anything else you do! The devil fears a Christian who prays effectual prayers, James 5:16. Paul isn't referring to this casual approach to the throne of grace that we engage in most of the time! No! He is talking about people who come boldly before the Lord, Heb. 4:14, and who labor to lay hold on God, Isa. 64:7. Where are those who will abide faithful through the night watches? Where are the saints that will lay their heads on the door steps of Heaven, grasp the horns of His altar by faith and lay siege to God throne until He answers? That was the kind of prayer warriors Paul was looking for and those are the kind we need in our churches today!

Prayer is our opportunity to enter into spiritual warfare with the devil. Prayer is our opportunity to stand tall in the power of God and fight battles against enemies that we cannot see. It is our opportunity to win battles that we cannot fight with our hands. It is in the closet of prayer that power descends upon the preacher! It is the prayer of a mother that protects the son in the war thousands of miles away. It is the prayer of the church that meets the need of the missionary in the foreign field! May we never neglect or downplay the enormous potential of prayer! That is why we pray on Wednesday! That is why we meet again on Friday! God grant us some who will pay the price in prevailing prayer so that the work of God may prosper in the land!

II. V. 31-32 A CALL FOR DETAIL IN PRAYER

(Ill. Paul was not asking for some generalized prayers that would avail nothing. He takes the time to tell these believers exactly what he wants them to pray for. By the way, prayer ought to be specific! We ought not be afraid to name our requests to the Lord. If we do not, how will we know when they are answered? Notice the three specific areas where Paul asks for prayer

A. That Paul's Walk Might Be Protected - Paul knew that he was walking into the lion's den. There were people in Jerusalem who hated Paul and the message he preached and would stop at nothing to kill him. Read Acts 23 and you will see! There were 40 men there who determined not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul! They hated him and he is praying for protection!

This same kind of praying is needed today! God's people are still being attacked by a spiritual enemy, 1 Pet. 5:8. He is seeking to devour them and they need prayer. When will we learn that our real power as a church does not lie in our size, our organization, our affiliation or our education? Our real power is spiritual in nature, 2 Cor. 10:4-5, and is exercised through the avenue of prayer, Eph. 6:18!

(Note: We need to pray for the church leaders! We need to pray for these young preachers! We need to pray for the young people. We need to pray for one another! Pray a hedge of divine protection around those who are being attacked by the enemy. Pray that they will be strong and that the attacks of the evil one will be turned back upon his own head!)

B. That Paul's Work Might Prosper - Paul's next item of prayer concerns the offering he is taking to the church in Jerusalem, v. 25-27. Now, why would they have a problem with the offering? Because the unbelieving Jews wanted Paul dead, and the believers were still a little leery of Paul. He merely wants them to pray that God will open doors and soften hearts.

(Note: This is the same kind of praying we need tonight! Pray when the preachers preach! Pray when the teachers teach! Pray when the singers sing! Pray when the witnesses witness. Pray that God will prepare hearts and touch lives. It is a glorious thing to see the Lord move and prosper His work when it is undergirded by the prayers of His people! So pray that the work might prosper!)

C. That God's Will Might Prevail - Paul wants to come to Rome if it is the will of God. He wants to meet these saints, if it is the will of God. He wants to rejoice with them, if it is the will of God. So, Paul asks them to pray that God's will might be done in all of these things. Here, Paul speaks of joy and refreshment. These things exist where the will of God is being carried out. Above all, Paul wants the will of God to be accomplished!

(Note: When I am in God's will, I have joy! When I am out of His will, there is a loss of joy. When I am in His will, I am refreshed in the Spirit. When I am out of His will, there is no refreshment of heart.

As a church, when we are praying and seeing the Lord work out His will in our midst, there is joy and there is a refreshing spirit around the house of God. When we are running on our own steam, there is a lack of power, of joy and of refreshment. God help us to seek His will first, both as individuals as well as a church body.)

(Note: We all have things we think we want to see the Lord do here at the church. However, may all of our praying be tempered by the will of God. After all, if His will is being done, then there will be joy and refreshment. When it is our will that is being accomplished, there will be problems and turmoil!)

III. V. 33 A CALL FOR DELIGHT IN PRAYER

(Ill. This final verse is a glimpse at Paul's heart. He is able to leave all these matters in the hand of God and rest in the assurance that God will take care of the Roman believers. This final verse is something of a prayer. It is breathed by the Apostle on behalf of the church and it teaches us about some valuable components that need to be included in our own prayer lives. This isn't Paul crying our in despair! It isn't him throwing up his arms in defeat. No! He is telling these people, "I have committed these matters to God and I am at rest. You do the same thing and rest too.")

A. Rest In The Peace Of God - Paul is on his way to Jerusalem. He does not know what will happen to him when he gets there. For all he knows, he might be killed or badly wounded, but he is able to rest in the arms of God. He is able to roll his whole need over into the strong arms of God and trust Him to take care of it all. He is also able to take these Roman Christians, in the midst of their persecution, and he able to tell them, "God will take care of you!"

(Note: This is a lesson for you and me as we labor in prayer before the Lord. When we have prayed about a matter in faith and have committed it to the will of God, then we can have peace in our hearts the He will take care of it for us! He may not answer it the way we want Him to, but He will always do what is right with the things we ask Him. Therefore, when you have prayed well, rest in His peace, John 14:27; Phil. 4:6-7.)

B. Rest In The Presence Of God - Paul reminds these believers that they not only have the peace of God to rest in, they also have the presence of God to rely on. Paul wants them to know that they can count on God to be with him as he travels and with them as they wait to hear from him again. He merely wants them to know that having God is far more valuable than having anything God can give!

(Note: You and I have the same assurance as we go through life. There are times when we look at situations and think they are totally hopeless! And, they are as long as we leave God out of the picture. Remember the spies in Numbers 13? You leave God out and you are in a mess! But, we need never leave God out! He is always with us, regardless of the situation. Regardless of how He answers our prayers, He is always there for us! That is His promise - Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20. Therefore, let us have confidence as we face the stormy seas of life. The One Who walks on the waves is the One Who holds our hands!)

Conc: Now, Paul was praying and the folks in Rome were praying, but did God ever answer these prayers? Yes He did! Look at Acts 21-23. He was protected, just like he prayed. He was well received of the church is Jerusalem, Acts 21:17. And, he was able to rejoice with the Roman Christians in the Lord's time, Acts 28:15. Yes, God heard these prayers from Paul and the church and they were answered!

Now listen, when you pray, do not be discouraged if the answer doesn't come along as quickly as you'd like it to. But, when you have prayed in faith, believing, always remember that God answers every prayer you pray! Sometimes He says "Yes!" I like those! Sometimes He says "No!" I don't like those! Sometimes He says "Wait!" Those are the hardest of all. But, it is still a blessing to know that all prayers are answered.

Therefore, Christian, pray! Will you pray for the church? Will you pray for the community? Will you pray for me? Will you pray for the leaders here? Will you pray unto the Lord, trusting Him to Protect Our Walk, Prosper Our Work and for His Will to Prevail? If we will pray as He has taught us, we will see Him work in ways we have never imagined!



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