Text: Romans 15:23-33
Theme: Planning ahead and asking for prayer were important to Paul on his missionary journeys.
Key verses: “But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to visit you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while. Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there” (v. 23-25). “So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received their contribution, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way. I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessings of Christ. I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there, so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed (v. 28-32).
What God said to me: Good Sunday morning, Dwayne. You’re journaling two days in a row. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you do that. Keep it up! Meditating on my Word and tuning your ears to my voice are the most vital and refreshing things you can do to maintain your walk and witness for me. Remember Watchmen Knee’s book, Sit, Walk, Stand, and his take on the book of Ephesians. You need to sit at my feet first and see yourself as seated in the heavenlies where everything you need is supplied already for you. See yourself first there. From there and only from there should you rise to walk in my way. Only from a resting position can you possibly hope to stand against the wiles and schemes of the devil. Consider Paul’s letter here in Romans 15. He had taken time to think about his upcoming schedule. He longed and needed to visit his friends and disciples in Rome. But he prioritized going to Jerusalem first. And he smartly planned to visit Rome on his way to Spain. Paul didn’t waste precious energy or money having to backtrack. He knew what was needed and he found the best way to meet those needs. Planning was very important and needed for Paul. Paul also relied greatly on intercessory prayer. He didn’t just casually and occasionally ask for prayer because it was the socially acceptable thing to do. He knew he genuinely needed other believer’s prayers. Just this morning you silently scoffed when you heard someone asking for prayer for themselves. You actually entertained the thought that prayer for others is useless and baseless as a means of help and healing. How dare you! Learn from my servant, Paul. You must have the prayers of the saints as you go about your ministry and life duties. Just as you can do nothing without me, you can do far less without the prayers of my people for you and what you doing in my name. The effectual, fervant prayer of a righteous man avails much. Never forget that, and never take prayer for granted. Get as many people praying for you as you possibly can. Your goal of 1000 prayer partners is vital to the success of NLW International. Keep working to build that wall of prayer warriors.
What I said to God: Holy and wonderful God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, You are my all in all. You are the true and living God and creator of heaven and earth. And You are also my heavenly Father. I praise and thank You today for every blessing You have brought to me–from my wife and boys to my ministry over the years through music and through leading NLWI. What a privilege! And what a privilege is prayer, to carry everything to You in prayer. Forgive me when I complain about having to do so much meticulous planning for our upcoming trips and events. I know planning is a necessary part of ministry. And I am truly sorry for scoffing at the thought of others praying for me or committing to intercede for other people. We need each other’s prayers. They don’t serve only as a statement to bring comfort. Our Father in heaven hears the prayers of saints on earth, and You, LORD, answer those prayers. It’s not for me to understand why and how and how many praying saints are needed in order for You to answer. I just know we must ask others to pray for us, and we must also commit to pray for those around us who need it, as we feel led to prayer for them. Please help me to actually stop and pray for those online that I say I’ll pray for. It matters in eternity. It matters to You, and therefore it must matter to me.