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!