“Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you” (Romans 15:30-32).
Prayer is both easy and difficult. It is as simple as a baby’s utterance of “Abba” (“my father”) to as challenging as wrestling with God’s will on a cool spring night and sweating great drops of blood (Luke 22:44).
Like our Lord, the apostle Paul knew the range of prayer’s possibilities. He knew that disciplining his will to live in contented submission to God’s was an ongoing spiritual battle. His intense desire to visit Rome had to be subservient to God’s authoritative will (James 4:13-15).
Though Paul may not yet have known the extreme danger he would be facing when he went to Jerusalem with the Great Collection (see Acts 20:22-23, 21:10-13), common sense would tell him that his presence in Jerusalem would be abhorred by some. Therefore, he begged his brethren to strive together with him in prayers to God on his behalf.
Paul knew if God’s will was for him to go from Corinth to Jerusalem to Rome as he had hoped, there was no one in heaven or on earth who could thwart Jehovah’s sovereignty and providence. He also knew that he wanted to live in obedience to God’s will, not his own, for he was a bond servant of Jesus Christ. If it was God’s will that he dies in the same city his Lord did and never visit earth’s imperial city, so be it.
Like our Lord, Paul strove in prayer for his life to be lived in harmony with his Father’s will, not his own.
Striving to submit to God’s will is an essential function of prayer.