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 ROMANS 15:30-32

 

PRAYING FOR PAUL!

"Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; that I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints; that I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed."

This Text is filled with practical ways to pray for your Preacher!

 

 

LESSON 1:

Paul's prayers, sprinkled throughout his fourteen epistles, have been subjects of study for many years. I think, outside of our Lord himself, no one ever prayed any greater prayers than did this man of God.

Seldom if ever does he ask for anything for himself. Always he seems to pray for others. He is an intercessor, if one ever lived! And when he pleads with the Lord, even for those saved under his ministry, he asks that they grow in love and knowledge and zeal and discernment, all in relation to their Lord!

But today, in this short paragraph, Paul does ask for something! Something for himself! Not directly mind you, but through others, through the Christians at Rome.

This is what he says. "Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; that I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints; that I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed." Romans 15:30-32

Some of these needs are practical.

Others are more spiritual.

"That I may come to you with joy," partly anyway, is a request for safety in travel.

That the Romans then, once Paul arrives, "may be refreshed" is more spiritual in nature.

Once these prayer "parts" have been studied one by one, we shall, the Lord willing, put them all back together as a "whole unit," thereby seeing the beauty of this elongated "prayer request."

A divinely inspired "prayer request," too.

And again, once this is done, we should be able to better pray for the God-called Preachers of our land!

To pray for our Pastors!

To pray for the radio Preachers!

Or the Preachers whose printed sermons have been such sources of blessing to us!

Praying for Preachers!

Maybe even, and I hope I'm not being "selfish" here, praying for traveling Preachers too!

That's certainly what Paul was by this time in his life, an evangelist carrying God's Word near and far.

Today we study just that opening word, "beseech." It's the first word in the Greek Text, the Textus Receptus, the manuscript that gave us the King James Bible. This fact alone gives it great importance, great emphasis.

And "beseech" or "parakaleo" is not expressed here as a command! That is a bit surprising.

Paul is not demanding that folks pray for him.

He is asking them to do so.

"Parakaleo" means "to encourage" someone to do something. "To urge" them to follow a course of action. "To request" it. Even at times, "to beg" their assistance.

As you probably already know, the  verb literally means "to come alongside" a person, in order to help him with a task or uplift her spirit, whatever the most urgent need might be. "Kaleo" is "to call or summon" in Greek. And "para," a preposition as well as a prefix here, means "beside" someone.

Paul wants someone, really a group of people, "to snuggle up beside him" and walk with him and uplift him ... in prayer ... concerning several pressing needs!

We can only hope that numbers of Roman Christians did just that!

Praying for Paul, what an honor!

Praying for that Preacher you love and respect, that feeds you God's Word every Sunday, that's a privilege too!

Many today, many of God's choice men, are fighting the devil as never before! The war is on!

Others are wounded in battle!

Discouraged.

Some have even quit, temporarily we hope!

They need helpers!

Prayer helpers!

Someone like "Timothy" or "Titus" or "Aquilla" or "Priscilla" to stand by their sides and pray, pray, pray!

I, for one, want to be such an intercessor!

For the men of God!

Who will join me?

You can make a different in your Preacher's life!

Primarily because of this one fact, God answers prayer!

Yes He does.

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, THE REST OF VERSE 30:

Paul just asked the Romans to pray for him. And he named at least four items for their prayer lists, too.

Here they are:

1. Safety from lost, ungodly men.

2. Acceptance of his "love offering" by the poor saints in Jerusalem.

3. A successful trip to Rome.

4. And "refreshment" from the Lord, once he arrived in the capital city.

We will, the Lord willing, analyze these one by one, starting tomorrow. Romans 15:30-32 lists these in word-for-word detail.

Meanwhile, today, Paul gives two reasons why such prayers should be offered. And these reasons are highly spiritual, too.

"Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me." Romans 15:30

Paul's welfare, his continuation in the ministry, benefits both the Lord Jesus Christ and the good Holy Spirit of God.

So, pleading the aid of God the Son and God the Spirit, Paul carefully builds his "prayer list!"

Everything he is about to request, all four desires, are for Jesus' sake!

I am afraid that some of my requests might be less nobly motivated! Maybe "for Brother Bagwell's sake?"

How about you?

The preposition "for" is merely "dia," which, when followed by a genitive object, means "through." It is "the Lord and the things He owns" that propel Paul to enlist these prayer helpers.

"For the Lord Jesus Christ's sake."

Also, "for the love of the Spirit." In other words, if Paul can immediately get to Jerusalem, then later to Rome, the Holy Spirit and His "fruit," especially His "love," will be greatly spread!

Or maybe this. Paul is suggesting that anyone who loves the Holy Spirit will want to pray for the Apostle, because Paul is indeed the "Holy Spirit and His power" preacher! "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power." 1st Corinthians 2:4

These two prayer motives, "for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit," are far superior to most praying done today.

These give praying "in Jesus' Name" deeper meaning, for sure!

"Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me." Romans 15:30

Paul next adds a verb to describe this prayer "action" he is seeking.

"Strive together" with me in your prayers!

"Sunagonizomai" fuses a preposition, "sun," and a verb that initially comes from the noun for "agony!" Literally, "to be in agony" as you pray! To pray earnestly! Vigorously! As if at war! As if in a contest against evil!

Powerful word picture here!

Prayer, real prayer, is not always easy! Or effortless!

It can be "agonizing!"

The noun for "prayers" is interesting, too.

"Proseuche" means "to express a wish," meaning a "desire" or "prayer," but in the "face" of God or "presence" of God Himself! "Pros" means right "before" someone. And "euchomai" means "to express that desire."

Going to God, boldly, with your needs and desires and longings!

And Paul, uncharacteristically so, adds "for me!"

Pray "for me!"

"For" is a translation of "huper," a preposition meaning "on behalf of." For Paul's sake, too!

We have just had a short lesson revealing Paul's "theology" of prayer! Especially intercessory prayer, praying for others.

Now, next, we go to item number one on his wish list, a sanctified wish list I might add.

Obviously, it has nothing to do with a new chariot or a fresh toga or an elaborate headquarters building, but safety to keep on preaching God's precious Word!

What a man of God, the Apostle Paul!

He "teaches," even as he "prays!"

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

May we be effective learners.

 

 

LESSON 3, PAUL'S FIRST PRAYER REQUEST:

Paul the Apostle at times seems to be absolutely unconcerned about his own safety!

Bold as a lion!

For example, in that silversmiths' riot at Ephesus in Acts 19, a huge crowd worked into a frenzy, Paul wanted to enter the meeting hall and speak! Almost a sure death for him! But Luke tells us: "And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not." Acts 19:30 shows us how Paul actually had to be restrained!

And at Lystra, after having been stoned, watch what happens! "And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city ...." Acts 14:19-20, where Paul goes right back into the place, a deadly place at that!

Again I say, brave and fearless Paul!

It's hard to scare a man who lives for Heaven!

"For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better." Paul in Philippians 1:23

But, Paul also at times seemed to want to stay on earth a while longer and serve the Lord!

Look at what he wrote in the very next verse, Philippians 1:24! "Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you." For you Philippians, he's really saying.

Therefore, we find at least twice where Paul asks folks to pray for his safety! In order to continue serving his dear Lord!

Here's 2nd Thessalonians 3:2. "Finally, brethren pray for us ... that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men."

Very plain!

And our Text today.

"Now I beseech you, brethren, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; that I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea." Romans 15:30-31

See that last clause?

"That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea." Romans 15:31

That's asking for prayer ... for safety!

The verb "may be delivered" is "ruomai" in Greek, meaning "to be rescued!" It is thought to be built upon the "reo" root, a verb picturing a rapidly flowing, wild, raging river! Someone being suddenly extracted from such danger! Pulled to safety!

The subjunctive mood of "ruomai" here expresses Paul's strong "desire or wish or longing" to remain alive and preach the precious Word of God!

"From," the preposition preceding the pronoun "them," is "apo." It means "away from" or "far off from." It speaks of "separation," for sure!

And these wicked men, what about them?

They "do not believe." Spelled "apeitheo," the word literally means "not persuadable!" They at least have rejected Christ as their Saviour! But possibly more is indicated, "apeotheo" can also imply "stubborn, rebellious, disobedient!"

They meant to "harm" Paul!

Here is a typical example. "But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts." Acts 15:30

Such malicious treatment happened to Paul again and again!

From these God-haters, Paul seeks deliverance!

That's what he is asking the Romans to pray for him, "That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea." Romans 15:31

But why Judea specifically, the area in which Jerusalem itself is located?

Because that's where Paul is headed!

To serve the Lord!

But, to be fully truthful, the Lord had already told Paul to "stay out" of Jerusalem. To go preach to the Gentiles!

Jesus' very words: "Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me." Acts 22:18

But Paul returns anyway!

He was that passionate about seeing Jews get saved!

Into the jaws of death he traveled!

More can be added, but at least we have seen how Paul was going into a dangerous situation.

And that he sensed that peril, very acutely!

And he sought the prayers of God's people everywhere.

Prayers for protection!

"Finally, brethren pray for us ... that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men."

That leads me to this application today.

Do you pray for your Preacher?

It is likely that there are some folks who do not like him, especially preaching as he does! Straight from the Bible!

Some might want to hurt his ministry.

Others just might want him to leave the Church. Maybe they have another person in mind, to fill that pulpit!

Others could be angry at him for some personal reason, real or imagined.

And the devil, if he is on the job, is always looking for men and women to "stir up" against real God-called Preachers!

One of these troublemakers just might have surfaced, even where you worship!

Not to mention the God-haters of the land, a group that is increasing all the time it seems!

Pray for your Pastor's safety!

And for God's Hand to be on that young Preacher in your Church, the one who has such promise for the future, such potential for the Lord!

And for the Evangelist, too!

And why not include that godly missionary?

That God would "deliver them" from harm!

Particularly from activists who despise the Word of God and holy living and Christianity in general!

This would be a valid prayer!

A Biblical one indeed!

I enjoy asking God's people to pray for my safety even while driving, traveling across the land.

After all, we are promised ...

"He, the Lord, will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore." Psalm 121:3-8

Wow!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, PAUL'S SECOND PRAYER REQUEST:

Here's prayer request number two!

Except the list is not mine, but the Apostle Paul's!

"Pray ... that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints." Romans 15:31

What does he mean?

Paul has a burden for the Christians in and around Jerusalem.

There had been a famine in that land for some time, seriously so.

And Paul had been collecting money for these needy brothers and sisters for months now, from the Churches he visited. "But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things." Romans 15:25-27

The great Apostle's burden is that these funds will not be rejected by the Christians in Judea, but gladly accepted.

Some in Jerusalem, especially those who leaned toward the doctrine of the Pharisees, still disliked Paul, very much! They often tried to turn others against him, too.

Paul needs some love and cooperation here.

What better way to get it ... than prayer?

That brings us back to our Text today. "Pray for me ... that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints." Romans 15:31

The noun "service," Paul's word for his financial gift to the Jerusalem Church, is "diakonia." It is a derivative of "diako," meaning "to run errands!"

Paul is a "servant" to the saved people in Judea!

He's been running around the world collecting funds for their time of need!

The verb "may be" translates "ginomai," that is, "to come into existence, to be born, to happen."

And the adjective "accepted" is "euprosdektos," anything that is "well-received," gladly taken and used! "Dechomai" means "to take with one's hand." And "eu" means "well or good." The "pros" in the middle means "face to face," better yet, "to or towards" a person!

If the Christians at Jerusalem will not spurn Paul, the love gift will be more gladly received, the Lord's work will more rapidly progress, and God will get more abundant glory!

Yes!

Praying for love and harmony and togetherness in the Church!

The request again: "Pray ... that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints." Romans 15:31

But, to make today's Lesson practical, can I pray this for my Preacher?

Yes, of course.

Maybe like this ...

"Lord, give my Pastor a loving spirit."

"And may his words and deeds be seen as genuine and caring to his people."

"And may those in our Church appreciate and honor and follow the Preacher as he leads us week after week."

"Forbid any dissension and rejection of our Man of God, I pray. Just don't let that negativity get started in our Church."

"In Jesus' Name, Amen."

Acceptability!

That's the word.

James, when describing the wisdom that comes from God, said it was "easy to be intreated." James 3:17

A preacher once told me that expression meant "approachable."

That's close enough for today!

Paul wants approachability to the Jerusalem saints.

Remember this great verse too. "He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again." Proverbs 19:17

Well then, in Heaven right now Paul is a wealthy man!

Isn't this a sweet thought today?

A Preacher wanting his people to love him and accept him and respond to his ministry!

God, grant such to your Men today.

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, PAUL'S THIRD PRAYER REQUEST:

Paul is asking prayer ... for himself!

He needs the Roman Christians to pray this request on his behalf. "That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God." Romans 15:32

This sounds like an itinerary!

It's a prayer for Paul's travel plans!

It's "erchomai" as a subjunctive verb, "hope to come, want to come, plan to come."

Paul certainly intended to come to Rome.

And he did!

It's just that he went a little later than planned, and as a prisoner instead of a free man!

Also note that Paul did not want to go from place to place based only on his personal desires.

No.

But "by the will of God."

"Dia thelema theos," that is, "through God's willingness." Or, according to God's wishes. God's desire! God's permission!

No Preacher wants to be anywhere God does not condone!

That would certainly be a dangerous place!

Ask Jonah!

Then too, Paul wants to make the trip "with joy."

"Chara" just means "gladness."

One is wise to turn his travel time into pleasant occupation, if at all possible.

Can you imagine this?

Asking a whole Church to pray ... that you, a traveling Preacher, can come see them!

But that's just what Paul has done.

"Now I beseech you, brethren, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God ... that I may come unto you with joy by the will of God." Romans 15:30 and 32

You see, Paul has made travel plans before, only to have them disrupted. For example, in Thessalonica, "Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us." 1st Thessalonians 2:18

And his bold plans to go to Spain may or may not have been fulfilled. The Bible just does not tell us. "Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company." Romans 15:24

It seems that Paul believed in praying about everything!

Including travel!

By the way, Paul never traveled needlessly! He always had a spiritual goal in mind! Or maybe many lofty goals!

Even regarding these Romans! "For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established." Romans 1:12, Paul is coming to help them grow in the Lord!

Now, truthfully, I do not know how to apply this specific prayer to your Pastor. But the Holy Spirit surely does! He can show you.

Yet I do know how to apply it to the Evangelists God has called and placed in His Church today.

They travel all the time.

Every week, sometimes every night.

"Lord, keep them safe!"

"Lord, only open the doors where You want them to be!"

"And Lord, give them peace and joy and safety as they drive or fly or whatever."

This might seem like the "lightest" of Paul four requests in our Text, Romans 15:30-32, but it is not!

The "where" of Christian service can be as important as the "who" or the "when" or the "why," at least at times.

Remember what Abraham's servant said, as he sought a bride for Isaac. "I, being in the way, the Lord led me." Genesis 24:27

Talk about being in the right place at the right time!

"Lord, put us where you want us to be!"

Then, more personally ...

"Heavenly Father, please bless this week's travel plans. Three nights of driving through metropolitan Atlanta to preach Thy precious Word ... then coming right back across town as soon as the Service has ended."

Folks, as I travel, pray for me please.

Thank you.

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, PAUL'S FOURTH PRAYER REQUEST:

Paul needing "rest?"

But that is exactly what he seems to be suggesting in Romans 15:32. He has asked the Christians in that local Church to pray for him. He even has a whole "list" of needs!

And here's the last one. As they say, "last but not least." Tell us, Paul: "Brethren, strive together in your prayers to God for me; that I may with you be refreshed."

Paul wants to "be refreshed."

The verb here is "sunanapauomai." It means "to have a time of rest." Or, "to have a relaxing visit" with someone. The heart of our word, "pauo," is virtually our English word "pause." To take "pause!"

This is dong exactly what Jesus taught His Disciples. "And He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat." Mark 6:31, still using "anapauo."

Paul, physically speaking, seldom ever rested! Or so it appears. Spiritually he was a dynamo too!

So, it's good to know, he occasionally took rest time, probably while multi-tasking in some other beneficial area, but still "rest" time.

But Paul did not often do things "alone."

Even resting!

He was addicted to the company of good Christian companions.

So he carefully puts on his prayer list, "that I may be refreshed with you!" When the Apostle gets to Rome, then, he will rest!

Maybe while studying the Bible with the Romans, resting then!

Or while learning more about them and their whole Church family!

Or in a season of prayer.

The Romans and Paul, on retreat!

Even the verb "sunanapauomai" hints at this "togetherness." The prefix "sun" means "along with" others!

Rest might be better with a companion or companions!

At least to Paul that is so.

The man was not a "loner," not a "recluse," not even an "introvert!"

He's a "people person!"

Even when resting!

And, truth be told, according to the lexicons, "sunanapauomai" includes some rather "intimate" insinuations. Nothing questionable mind you, not at all, but a bunch of men bunking under the same grove of trees somewhere, on a cloudless night, traveling to the next preaching station! Fellowshipping over the things of God as they drift off to sleep!

Eating meals together, focusing on vibrant "spiritual truth," as well as eggs and cheese!

"Brethren, strive together in your prayers to God for me; that I may with you be refreshed." 

Paul is human, after all!

He too needs "rest."

Now, to apply this Text, this sliver of a Text, to the Preachers we know.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking God to give them rest, as well! The Preachers on your "list," your prayer list.

"Lord, lift their worries!"

"Give them peace."

"Scatter their enemies!"

"Let them rest."

"Give them good fellowship with other Believers of like mind!"

"Strengthen their bodies!"

"In Jesus' Name, Amen."

And don't forget, even the Lord God Almighty, after creating this whole world in six days, rested on the seventh!

If He did so, we has best follow His example.

Rest!

An occasional day "off!"

A short vacation maybe!

God even gave the Jewish people, the whole Nation of Israel, one day in seven ... just to rest and worship!

"Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings." Leviticus 23:3

Need I say more?

And, in obedience to Paul's request today, I have somehow managed to sleep late this morning!

Nearly too late!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, CONCLUSION:

For the past six days or so we have been studying Romans 15:30-32. In these verses Paul is requesting prayer, for himself!

I have called these Lessons "How To Pray For The Preacher!"

But this is not the only place Paul seeks the prayers of the saints.

He does so again in the Epistles of Ephesians and Colossians, as well as in Second Thessalonians too.

For example, in Ephesians Paul asks for prayer in the area of "open doors." Listen: "Pray for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel." Ephesians 6:19

Opportunities to preach, literally being "prayed in" by the people of God! For their Preacher!

The noun "utterance" is just "logos," words to speak!

The adverb "boldly" is "parresia," meaning "saying everything" for God! Holding back nothing! Preaching "the whole counsel" of the Lord! All the Bible!

Then in Colossians Paul asks for prayers yet again. This time he says: "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds." Colossians 4:3

Now, Paul has Believers in two different Churches praying basically the same prayer for him! "Open unto us a door of utterance!"

And, if God opens such doors, no man can shut them!

This tactic gives me the idea of asking folks everywhere, in every Revival Meeting I preach, to pray on my behalf!

A small army of prayer warriors, beseeching Heaven for Brother Bagwell!

Then in Second Thessalonians 3:1 we find Paul praying for God's Word to "have free course and be glorified." That is, while Paul is preaching!

"Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you." Prayer for the Bible, its impact and power!

"To have free course" is "trecho," a verb basically meaning "to run!" To run without restrain! To run without being tripped!

And it's always right to ask God to glorify his Word!

Just think, every time Paul preaches many are praying!

Just for him!

Such blessings, as here showered on Paul, can change lives forever!

Preacher friend, build you a prayer list!

And get some folks to pray it for you!

I plan to spend the rest of  my earthly time doing exactly that, along with a few other things.

Getting people to pray for me!

Because God answers prayer, you know!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Do you pray for some Preacher, every day?

Your Pastor, the Evangelist, a Missionary?

Or some young Preacher in the Church?

Once you figure out the "who" of your preacher praying, the "what" will come much more easily!

After all, we serve the God Who answers prayer!

And that's a promise!

 

                              What encouragement to prayer, read it again!

 

 

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