Paul is looking forward to meeting the Christians in Rome, but he’s got some difficult tasks facing him before he can do so. He is sending a request for prayer in this passage. That’s a good reminder to us to be asking our own brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for us.
How many times have you told someone, “I’ll pray for you.” There is comfort in those words. Many times, that’s the best thing we can offer to do. God is a better problem solver than we could ever dream of being. I don’t know about you, but I so much more prefer to pray right there on the spot when someone shares a prayer request. I remember the first time someone did that with me. We were standing in the middle of a hotel lobby. Not the most opportune location, but once in prayer I didn’t really care. Sometimes timing or location doesn’t allow for that, but how affirming and calming the instant prayers can be.
I was curious why Paul was so concerned about the offering being accepted in Jerusalem. Why would there be any problem accepting money? After a little research, I realized that Paul would be bringing offerings from Gentile believers who were grateful for their new faith and promise of eternity. Those in Jerusalem that would be accepting the funds were Jewish. Even though God welcomed Gentiles into the family, acceptance by the Jewish community had not followed suit. Paul wanted prayer to cover and protect him so the money could be a blessing and not a curse.
Don’t ever feel like you have to be alone in your struggles. There are other believers that will support you and pray with you. We’ve even added an option here on our devotional blog for prayer requests. Your prayers are confidential. So if you’re looking for another prayer warrior to pray on your behalf (it never hurts to have others praying to God for you), leave us a request.
All in all, Paul’s main desire in his ministry and mission has been unity. He realizes the great divide between peoples and cultures. God doesn’t make the same distinctions. Paul wants to help people understand God’s heart and plan to unite the believers as one. No one is better than the other. Just because the Jews have been hearing about God’s promises for generations, the Gentiles are excited to now be welcomed into this inner circle.
How do you respond to be chosen by God? Take time to reflect today.
Let’s pray. Lord, I thank you that you have my life securely in your hands. Thank you that you have welcomed me into your inner circle of believers. May I never take this privilege for granted. May I never judge another person whom you also love and cherish. Bring your peace into this world. May your power reign supreme. In Jesus’ name. Amen.