Study of Romans as given by Dr. James Montgomery Boice: Romans 1:9-12
9God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. 11I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong–12that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
Paul had a deep desire to visit the church in Rome, but was always deterred by other matters. Even though obstacles kept Paul form going to Rome he never forgot about them in prayer as the text says. He prayed for them at all times. He prayed not only for their growth in numbers, he prayed for their growth in the faith as Christians. His plan to visit was not only to be encouraged by the church in Rome, but to be encouragement to the Christians in Rome. Paul eventually made it to Rome, although it was under quite unfavorable circumstances as a prisoner. What we can glean from this part of this text though deals with how fervently Paul prayed for the Roman church and how we should pattern our prayer life after Paul’s example.
- Work and Pray
- A strong prayer life is not the least bit inconsistent with vigorous and fervent service for God.
- Even though some are called to pray and some are called to service, all still need to spend time in prayer.
- Being called to spend a life of service does not negate the fundamental need for prayer.
- gives us an example to follow as he was indebted to God through his service he always took time out to pray.
- “Prayer and labor ought to go together. To pray without laboring is to mock God; to labor without prayer is to rob God of his glory. Until these are conjoined, the gospel will not be extensively successful.” (Robert Haldane)
- Prayer and God-Directed Service
- Prayer directs Christian service properly.
- Some people who are engaged in Christian work may seem to be going about it the wrong way using the world’s methods. Using the world’s methods for Christian work only produces the world’s results.
- Some engage in Christian work with the wrong goals in mind.
- Paul prays about his work and his ministry to others. Because Paul prayed continually we notice a few things about Paul’s service.
- Paul’s service was sincere or wholehearted.
- Paul’s service was gospel-centered
- Paul’s service was for others
- Powerful and Effective Prayer
- One thing to notice is that Paul was praying to go to Rome, but so far was unable to go. How can we say prayer is powerful if Paul’s prayer was not being answered?
- A few things that we must take inventory of.
- Paul’s prayer to travel to Rome was not Paul’s only prayer.
- Paul mentions that he prayed for them constantly.
- Paul most likely prayed for these items before prayer for his desire to visit Rome
- Would have prayed for their maturing in faith
- have prayed for effective witness
- Would have prayed for their ability to resist temptation from Rome’s many vices.
- We know the above items Paul prayed for were answered because Paul talks about the faith of the Roman church.
- If you think your prayers are not being answered for someone you are praying for remember this.
- God has unlimited resources
- Even though God may not be using you to answer your prayer, He may be using someone else.
- God answers prayer according to His decree and time. We may never see the results of our prayers, but it does not mean we should give up on prayer.
- Paul always prayed that God’s will be done. When he prayed to visit Rome it must always be taken in the context of being God’s will.
- Does Prayer Change Things-Or People?
- Prayer also changes the one praying so that he or she increasingly becomes the kind of person through whom God can accomplish his purpose.
- Prayer also changes circumstances as God does alter circumstances according to his decree when his people pray.
When i was a child I use to pray and nothing seemed to happen. I kept praying even though I really saw no benefit from praying. As I matured my prayer life came and went. I would never claim myself as a prayer warrior, not like my mother was in her advanced years. When mom became paralyzed I prayed that she would be healed, it never happened. When I was confused about life I prayed for clarity and guidance, it never came. When I was beaten down with depression and all of life had a sense of hopelessness I prayed for strength and deliverance, it never seemed to come. When I was hungry and scared, homeless at one point, I prayed, but nothing ever seemed to happen. I could go on talking about things I prayed and where prayer never seemed to have any benefit, or so it seems to the casual observer. What should be noticed is that most people would give up on prayer after praying so much and there seemed to be no benefit from it. Through all the difficult times and praying during those difficult times I never gave up on need for prayer. I never gave up because I always believed there was a just God who was always there during those difficult times and during the times I prayed. I always knew that God had a better sense of what I could contend with than I did. I knew that God, in His time and according to his will, would bring an answer to my prayer even if it meant leaving me where I was at the time I was praying. God was building inner strength so that at the right moment I might be able to face this world with a firm faith knowing that God was there regardless of whether a prayer was answered in a way I thought it should be answered. In I Thessalonians 5:16-18 we read “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Our faith in God should never be based on how many of our prayers are answered and especially answered according to our desired outcome. Pray continually because our faith in God demands it.