Last Sunday’s sermon text brought us to these stirring words, “…strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf.” (Romans 15:30) As the apostle Paul was following God’s call to bring an offering to help out impoverished Christians in Jerusalem, then travel to Rome and from there to Spain to preach in an unreached area, he appealed for the church in Rome to strive with him in prayer for these things.
“Strive” here is the word from which we get the word agonize. It’s the word they would have used to describe contending for an athletic prize or fighting a battle. The Holy Spirit summons believers like us to strive in prayer, to fight the good fight of prayer, especially for our gospel partners who are laboring hard in various ministries. We do this because we are confident that prayer isn’t simply a therapeutic tool to make us feel better: prayer is God’s invitation to call out to Him to bring real change on the earth.
God has been stirring our church up to pray this year. We began 2019 with a sermon series teaching us to pray the master prayer, the Lord’s Prayer. Romans 15:30 calls us to pray for our gospel partners, and we have many of them! God has blessed us with wonderful partners who are advancing God’s purposes in mission and mercy. You can find them listed on our website here. In addition to our church’s partners, many of us have people we’ve partnered with to support, pray for, and encourage in the work God has called them to. Would you take some extra time this week to strive in prayer with these partners? Please pray for Emma Sakaguchi in Tokyo as she works to learn Japanese, for revival at our local universities, for encouragement for those working at Sanctity of Life Ministries, for God to keep our friends at Rancho 3M safe, and for whatever else God puts on your heart.
You can join together with others in our church to pray every Saturday morning, 7:00-8:00 a.m., in the church office and Sunday mornings 9:00-9:30 a.m. in room 202. We also plan to gather for a worship and prayer night on Friday, July 12, 7:30-9:00 p.m. in the main auditorium.
If you’re ever unsure how to pray for a ministry partner, these prayers from Romans are always beneficial:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)
May the God of peace be with you all. Amen. (Romans 15:33)
May God bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of Christ’s name among all the nations. (adapted from Romans 1:5)
I close with this prayer: Father, teach us to pray. Holy Spirit, empower us to strive together in prayer with these gospel partners you’ve connected us with. Jesus, let the good news of your saving death and resurrection spread through our partners for the sake of your glory. Amen.