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Committed to Service and Prayer

Romans 1:9-10
God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. (NIVUK)

The Apostle Paul’s life was committed to serving the God who had called him (Acts 13:47).  Because he had fully accepted the call of God on his life, he did not resent it at all.  He was eager to preach the gospel to as many people as possible so that they could find peace with God through Jesus Christ – especially to people who had never heard it before (Romans 15:20).  

This service was from his heart; it was not just the performance of a religious duty, or some mechanical religious rite.  It was highly relational; he was personally involved in sharing the message which had changed his own life.  As he loved the Lord and loved people, he put all of himself into communicating the message of salvation (Colossians 1:28-29).

Paul was also committed to praying for them.  He did not know how much of the background to the gospel they understood, or how vulnerable they might be to Satan’s temptations.  In the same way that he prayed for other young churches (1 Thessalonians 3:5), he prayed for the believers in Rome (Romans 1:11).  Because he loved them, he asked the Lord to open the way for him to visit them to explain the gospel more fully.  Although Paul's life-work was to explain the gospel, he knew he could only go when the Lord said it was the right time.  He was a true servant, waiting for orders; but because of his relationship with God, he was also able to ask his Master for permission to serve more.  The Lord allowed that visit to be delayed, prompting the writing of this Letter to the Romans - which not only brought gospel clarity to them but also to many generations including us.

Without prayer, 'ministry' becomes 'what I can do for God', rather than working with Him and under His command. Prayerless ministry is a monster: it glorifies our abilities and meets our needs.  Zealous work for God, without a passionate love for people and a prayerful desire that He will work in their lives, can become a cultish abuse like that of the Apostle Paul before his conversion (1 Corinthians 15:9-10).  So, if you have been called to serve - pray!  Make sure that you are in a right relationship with the Lord and the people before you serve them in His Name.  Wait for Him to give the green light and then be obedient and minister in the strength which God provides.  Until then, pray!  Committed ministry only comes from committed prayer.

Holy Father, my Master in heaven. Thank You for calling me to Yourself and to Your service. Forgive me when I serve when it suits me and resist when it does not. I know that is not true service. Help me to grow in my love for You and those who You want me to serve. Help me to be committed to prayer so that I will know what You want me to do and when You want me to do it; then help me to serve You, whatever the cost. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams