“I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.” –Romans 15:30
Paul was a giant in the faith. Thoughtful, intelligent, willing to work and to suffer for Christ. He planted churches around the Mediterranean Sea, fought off wolves endangering young Christians, and was a bold preacher in front of Herod, Mars Hill, and angry mobs. Yet, Paul still needed the prayers of the church gathered. “Join in my struggle through prayer,” he pleads to the church.
Why does Paul ask the church to join in his struggle? For “our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit.” Paul’s prayer for the local church is that our “love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment” (Philippians1:9). Love increases in the church that gathers to know God more and discern His truth.
My ministry, just like Paul’s, is utterly dependent on God to do the things only God can do. Making disciples of all people to the glory of God requires God’s power. Paul knew his personal growth and labor in ministry was by God’s grace alone (I Corinthians15:10). Who I have become and how I minister is dependent upon God’s grace alone. Therefore, my beloved Allison Avenue saints, struggle with me by praying to God for me.
Also, Paul pleads for the saints in Rome to join him in his struggle by praying “by the love of the Spirit.” There is a sweetness found in a church who prays such Kingdom prayers together! Join the struggle together by praying to God together! Paul already commanded the Roman saints to “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12). Be constant in prayer…together. Struggle together. Paul wrote to the Colossian church how he heard of their faithfulness to God and of their love in the Spirit (Colossians1:8). This is the same Holy Spirit in whom we the church enjoy unity and a bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3), a perfect unity held together by God’s perfect love (Colossians3:14).
I plead with you: pray for me, for my teaching ministry, for my leadership of our church. Pray that I speak the mystery of the gospel in the way I should (Colossians 4:3-4) with boldness (Ephesians 6:19). Pray for one another. Pray together. Pray constantly. Pray that you love one another more (Philippians 1:9). Pray that you encourage one another to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord and to bear fruit for His glory (Colossians 1:9-10).
Let us be a praying church, faithful to God and depending on God and going to God on behalf of one another. Join in the struggle of the global gospel mission of Christ in prayer for laborers to enter the field for the harvest (Luke 10:2) and then go to the field ourselves (Luke 10:3).
Heavenly Father, my love for Your people whom You have sovereignly placed under my leadership compels me to ask You for Your favor to them. Bless them by Your rich mercies, deliver them from temptation, and may our love for one another increase. To Your glory and in Jesus’ name. Amen.