Paul did not only serve God with his strength, in his public work. It was even more important for Paul to serve God with his spirit, in his private prayers.
Jesus encouraged people to pray in private, when only God would see them (Matthew 6:6). We are sure that Paul often prayed with other Christians. However, it is clear that he also prayed much in private. When he prayed for the church at Rome, nobody else was with him. So, he tells Romeís Christians that God was the witness of those prayers.
Paulís prayers in private were not just occasional short prayers. Paul had responsibility for many churches, and he cared about all the Christians at those churches (2 Corinthians 11:28-29). We can be sure that he was praying much for them.
However, Paul still managed to find the time to pray for the church at Rome. In fact, God knew that he was praying constantly for it.
It surprises us to know that Paul was praying so much for that particular church. Paul had never even visited Rome; he had no responsibility for its church. So, we believe that God gave Paul a special task to support that church by his prayers. Perhaps during prayer, Paul had felt a deep desire to pray for Romeís Christians. Paul recognised that the Holy Spirit was guiding him in that way; so, of course, he obeyed. The Holy Spirit, who guided Paul to pray, could also show Paul what to pray for. Or, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Paul could pray in words and languages that even Paul himself could not understand (1 Corinthians 14:14-18). However, God understood those prayers, and he would answer them.
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© 2018, Keith Simons.