Paul’s Practical Theology Of Prayer

I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.
–Romans 15:30

In Luke 18:1, Jesus taught that “at all times [we] ought to pray and not to lose heart.” How do we pray at all times? How do we continue to pray even when the answer seems impossible? Paul answered that question in Romans 15:30-32.

One secret to Paul’s effectiveness is that he believed in the importance of prayer. He said, “I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints; so that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company” (Romans 15:30-32).

In these verses, Paul expressed key truths about prayer. Each of us has to believe and embrace Paul’s theology of prayer if we are going to experience the power of prayer in our lives.

Paul believed that prayer is necessary. He said, “I urge you … to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me” (15:30). People tend to go to one of two extremes when it comes to the subject of prayer. Some theologians say that God will not do anything apart from the prayers of His people. But do we really believe that God is limited by anything that we do or don’t do? Paul said God “is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). Nothing limits God. The other extreme people go to is saying, “God is going to accomplish His sovereign plan regardless of whether I pray, so why bother to pray?” That is a fair question. Remember this: God has ordained the end, but He also ordained the means to the end. God has a plan that governs everything that happens.

Ephesians 1:11 says God “works all things after the counsel of His will”–singular. God does not have a plan A, plan B, and plan C. He has one plan, and His one plan was big enough to include the rebellion of Lucifer in Heaven, Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden, Israel’s rebellion against God, and even the death and crucifixion of His own Son. God’s plan is big, it is singular, and it is secret. Nobody can know what that plan is, but God has given us a responsibility as part of His plan. He has ordained the end, but He has also ordained the means to the end.

The same thing is true with prayer. Does God have a plan that is going to be accomplished? Yes, but He has also ordained the means to accomplish that plan, and that is through our prayers. James said, “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). Paul believed the same thing. He urged the Roman Christians to pray for him because he knew prayer is necessary.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Bow The Knee” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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