Sunday, 2 February 2014
Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me,… Romans 15:30
Between two thoughts which reflect his desire to come to Rome (verses 29 & 32) Paul stops abruptly and requests “prayers to God” for him. This shows an extreme concern about his trip to Jerusalem which is resulting in no little consternation. He seems to know that things could go badly down there and he indicates as much explicitly in the following verse.
Because of this tenuous situation, he now begs the brethren “through the Lord Jesus Christ” to take action. The wording here can be interpreted in a variety of ways, such as “for,” “through,” or “by.” If it is “for” then it is speaking of the honor of the Lord and the sanctity of His name. “Through” would indicate that the prayers were to be submitted to God “through” Jesus Christ as our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14) and the Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5).
Either way, Paul is invoking the name of Christ in the process of prayers for safety. In addition to this, he also requested those prayers to be made “through the love of the Spirit.” Again, a couple possibilities in meaning exist here. One is speaking of the love which the Spirit has endowed in the believer (which should certainly be the case in those who join in prayer) or he could mean the love which the Spirit feels toward the believer just as the Father and the Son love those who have been saved by the blood of Christ. In either way, the Spirit, like Christ Jesus, is to be invoked in the prayers. As often occurs, this is another implicit hint at the Trinity where Jesus, the Spirit, and God are all named in one verse.
It is through and to this Godhead that he now asks those in Rome to “strive together with” him “in prayers to God” for his mission to Jerusalem. The word for “to strive together with” is used only this once in the New Testament. It speaks of wrestling or agonizing together or sharing in a contest. This is what Paul is requesting – an honest struggling in prayer for the sake of his coming dealings in Jerusalem.
Throughout his writings, Paul holds the process and power of prayer in the very highest esteem. And he notes that when it is conducted in a group manner it is of great weight before God. This is noted, for example, in 2 Corinthians 1:11 –
“…you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.”
Life application: Is there an important matter ahead of you or someone you fellowship with? Make an effort to join together with them in prayer concerning it. When you do, remember that your prayers to God are to be submitted through Jesus Christ and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit to God. Our heavenly Father is pleased to receive such prayers and to respond to them according to our needs and in accordance with His perfect will.
Heavenly Father, You have shown us in Your word that the prayers of the many are powerful and effective when they are aligned with Your will. And so, for those who join with me today, I pray that You will be glorified among Your people. Be glorified through their praises, be glorified through the meeting of their needs, and be glorified in the thanks You receive for every good and kind blessing which is received. Be glorified in Your people, O God. Amen.