Paulís prayers were not simply polite words that he spoke to God. Like Christ himself (Hebrews 5:7), Paul often expressed himself in a very desperate manner in front of God (2 Corinthians 11:28-29). In prayer, Paul would show God the true desires of his (Paulís) heart (1:9-11).
Paul was born into a Jewish family (11:1). The Jewish people are the people who come from the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. When Paul became a Christian, some of his Jewish friends decided to oppose him fiercely (2 Corinthians 11:24). Paul could have been bitter and angry, but instead God gave Paul the deepest love for them. Paul was ready to do anything if it would help them to know God better (1 Corinthians 9:19-20).
Paul was not trying to impress anyone; this was the sincere and true attitude of his heart. So of course Paul's love for the Jewish people expressed itself in his prayers. The way that Paul described this love in his prayers may give us a shock. However, it is very similar to the prayer that Moses prayed in Exodus 32:32.
Like Moses, Paul offered to God the most precious thing that he (Paul) possessed: his own relationship with God (Philippians 3:7-11). Paul would even accept the loss of that, if it would help the Jewish people to know God better.
Of course Paul knew that such a thing would never bring anyone into a right relationship with God. However, that prayer was the strongest way that he could possibly express his love for the Jewish people. Paul suffered much in his work for God. However, Paul would have willingly suffered much more, as this prayer shows.
Next part: God's relationship with Israel (Romans 9:4)
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© 2017, Keith Simons.