Reading: Romans 15:14-33
Consider: In Paul’s letter to the church in Rome he asks the believers to join him in his struggle, not by physically going through the same difficulties he faces, but by upholding him in prayer. In Ephesians 6:12 he says: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Paul knew that any opposition he faced was as a result of spiritual warfare. This might seem overdramatic, but anyone serving God in sharing the good news of the gospel should be aware of the spiritual opposition they will have to face.
God might not have called you to evangelise in the way that Paul did, but you should be able to support those who do in prayer. The Greek word rendered ‘struggle’ in the NIV carries with it the inference of ‘striving together’ or ‘joining in partnership’. Can you see what Paul is getting at? He is eager for the prayers of the believers in Rome because, in doing so, they come into partnership with him and strive together with him in sharing the gospel.
This should help us to understand why those who are in any aspect of ministry, value the prayers of their fellow believers so much. Do you regularly pray for the pastor/minister of your church? If not, start doing so. They might not mention the struggles they go through on a daily basis, but your prayers will uphold them and sustain them. Do you pray for anyone sharing the gospel overseas? If not, see who your church supports and start praying for them regularly. It is encouraging how many missionaries speak about the strength they receive from knowing that people are partnering with them in prayer.
You may feel that you are praying without detailed knowledge of the person’s circumstances. Take encouragement from the fact that many people in ministry speak about how they have been through a particularly difficult situation and have only later come to know that someone (or a group of people) has prayed specifically about the situation. This might seem coincidental to you, but I believe in God’s coincidences.
Pray: Father, give us a burden to partner someone in prayer, promising to pray for them regularly. When we do pray, give us the knowledge to pray meaningfully for them. Amen