Day 136: Striving Together in Prayer

Romans 15:30-33

Now I beg you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints; that I may come to you in joy through the will of God, and together with you, find rest. Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

This passage says quite a bit in a very small space. It may seem strange that God wants us to pray when He already knows everything. I believe that this passage tells us that one reason for prayer is to share in the suffering and deliverance of other Christians.

I believe that Paul was already aware of the will of God in this situation, and that he wanted the Roman Christians to have an opportunity to go through his experiences with him. Even though they couldn’t be together, they could still show their love for Paul and experience God’s deliverance through Paul. I think that the point is that we can’t experience God’s deliverance for our fellow Christians unless we participate in their struggle. Remember the body analogy earlier in Romans? We are all one body and through prayer, we can share in the sufferings of another by praying with them for their ultimate deliverance.

We read in the book of Acts what actually happened after this letter was written. When Paul got to Jerusalem he was accepted by the believers there (see Acts 21:19-20), but the non-Christian Jews started a riot in which he was beat by the crowd and then arrested (see Acts 21:26 – 22:22). Then, the Romans ended up protecting Paul after they were embarrassed about the fact that they almost punished a Roman citizen without trial (which was evidently illegal, see Acts 22:23-29). Paul ended up sitting in prison, but during one night, God came to him and told him that he would go to Rome for sure! (See Acts 23:11) There was even a plot against his life that the Guards found out about in Jerusalem and eventually ended up giving him an all expenses-paid trip to Rome with the protection of the guards! (See Acts 23:11 – 28:14)

To make it even more interesting, when Paul got to Rome, the believers there were extremely happy to see him, so much so that they traveled his direction when they heard that he was coming! (See Acts 28:14-16) Amazingly enough, however, the Romans didn’t even know the problems that Paul had in Jerusalem. In fact, unlike those in Jerusalem, the Roman Jews listened Paul’s message! (Acts 28:17 to the end) I think it is safe to say that the Roman Christians were praying along with Paul the whole time. They were so excited to see him that they went way out of their way to do it without knowing what had happened. I believe it is possible that prayer held them together and all of them were able to experience the joy of God’s deliverance together! This is a great example of how we can all share in the sufferings of those Christians who are being persecuted today. May God bless them and deliver them to us.