"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
In this precious verse we learn many things about prayer that if we as God's people take hold of, will truly help us not only to pray but to continue to pray. Many growing Christians will at the beginning of the year determine to pray more and more effectively. May these words be a help.
1) Our praying, or asking God to meet a particular desire, is good for the Lord Jesus Christ. We see that praying is for the Lord's sake. Because we care about the Lord Jesus Christ we will pray. When we call on someone to do something for their "sake" it is assumed that there is a genuine care for that person. If we genuinely care we will pray.
2) Paul sees fit to call upon a sincere love of the Spirit. We ought to love the Spirit, because like the Lord Jesus who first loved us so did the Holy Spirit. Without Him we would not be saved for he is the one who taught you the truth. Without Him you could not truly understand the Word of God. Without Him you would not know how to pray. Without Him you would not know how to do the will of God. Without Him our consciences would not be sensitive to sin. We ought to love the Holy Spirit and if we are not praying then we are lacking in love for Him.
3) We ought to pray for ourselves! Paul said "Strive together with me... for me." I have heard people proclaim never praying for themselves because they do not want to be selfish. This is a misunderstanding about God. If every person in the world prayed for themselves at the same time, God would hear and be able to answer each one without the slightest effort. This is also a misunderstanding of ourselves. We cannot walk this perilous road without God. We need His grace, mercy, and peace. We need His wisdom and protection. We need Him to comfort us and console us. The sin of not praying for oneself is the sin of Laodicea in Revelation 3. They said, "I have need of nothing."
4) We ought to pray for others. Just as we need the Lord so do all others. I believe Paul was admitting two things by this beseeching of believers. First, our prayers for ourselves are not as effective as our prayers for ourselves with others. It seems God is moved as more of His children cry unto Him. Second, I believe Paul understood that there are things he might not pray for himself that others would. We can have blind spots in our own lives that others see and can pray for.
5) We ought to pray together. This is of the upmost importance. It is important to pray alone in our "closets," but we must pray together. This prayer together will lead us to a care for the one being prayed for and the one we are praying with in truly supernatural ways. If we do not make time to pray with others we are lacking in our prayer lives.
6) We must "strive" in prayer. To strive is to reach forth with all our might without giving up. Prayer is hard; physically, emotionally, and mentally. Anything that is hard we are always in danger of quitting; exercise, cleaning, yard work, you name it. If it is hard we are always in danger of quitting before we are finished. We cannot quit praying. The reward is to great and it will be forfeited if we do not continue in prayer. This means we will pray when we don't want to. We will because the end of our prayer is God's precious answer. "We have not because we ask not!"
God bless you brethren! I beseech you to pray for me! May this year be our greatest year with the Lord!