Summary: A sermon from Romans 15:30-33 on prayer (Outline and material adapted from Alan Carr at: http://www.sermonnotebook.org/romans/Rom%2015_30-33.htm)
Whenever I speak about prayer, I want it known that I speak as a fellow-struggler in the trenches. I’ve never found prayer to be easy. Also, many messages and books on prayer lay a guilt trip on the listener or reader for not praying enough. They tell about how Martin Luther was so busy that he had to spend four hours every morning in prayer. Somehow that is supposed to motivate me to get out of bed at 3 a.m. to pray, but it doesn’t work for me. So I don’t want this message to imply that I’ve got it together when it comes to prayer or to increase your guilt level. Take prayer seriously, make it a part of our day, but let’s not be neurotic about it.
If there was ever anyone who seemed to “have it together,” it was Paul! Sometimes such great men come across as if they don’t have any needs. They try to project an image of self-confidence so that others will follow their leadership. But Paul freely and repeatedly let the churches know that he desperately needed their prayers. For Paul, prayer wasn’t a nice thing to do; it was a necessity for survival.
Several times in his writings he asks for prayer in addition to Romans 15:
“Brothers, pray for us.” 1 Thessalonians 5:25, NIV.
“Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1, NIV.
“Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,” Ephesians 6:19, NIV.
“And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” Colossians 4:3, 4, NIV.
“Who will pray for me?” Great privilege that is ours is to pray for others. 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 pray for him, he is also inviting them to join him as he serves the Lord!
Behind every spiritual giant were people who prayed and touched heaven on their behalf. Names of prayer partners are not remembered, but when rewards are handed out at Judgment Seat of Christ, those who labored in the closets will receive as much as those who labored in the field! Let’s look for a moment at Paul’s plea for prayer from the Roman Christians.
Thesis: A Call for Prayer
A Call for diligence in prayer (Vs. 30)
“Urge” is the same word that Paul used in Romans 12:1
This 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 football. He may be fast, but if he doesn’t have some teammates blocking for him, he will be on the ground in short order. Those in ministry need others out in front blocking for them!
The Motive of prayer
Paul’s request for prayer isn’t just for himself, but for the glory of God. This should be the overriding theme of every prayer we pray! “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31, NIV.
We should also pray with the thought that we want God’s will to be done. ““Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”” Luke 22:42, NIV.
by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit- When we are baptized, saved and the Spirit of God indwells us, one of the first things He does is to give us a love for the people of God. “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:5, NIV. This love of God in us is one of the reasons why we pray for one another. If I have this love, I will be concerned about what affects others and I will want to help by praying about it.
The Ministry of prayer
Join me in my struggle. This word carries idea of entering into a fight with someone else. It pictures prayer as wrestling. This goes back to Jacob wrestling with the Angel of the Lord in Genesis. “Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Colossians 4:12, NIV. Where are the people like Epaphras who wrestle in prayer? Where are the Christians who grasp the horns of the altar and lay siege to God’s throne until He answers? “Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”” Genesis 32:26, NIV.