Paul continues to ask for help. This is the 3rd request after asking for protection from the unbelievers in Judea and as he heads towards Jerusalem that the Church receive the gift of money that he has collected from the Gentile Christians for them.
“…so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed.” (Romans 15 v 32)
He is looking forward to his time with the Roman Christians. So now here is the question.
Were these prayers answered and are you experiencing answered prayer?
Maybe you can relate to something of what happened to Paul? Let’s ask if these prayers were answered favourably:
- His safety from the unbelievers on his way to Jerusalem? What we know is that he was captured, tried and jailed: so not exactly. But he was saved from death and a flogging (you can read about it in Acts 21-23) so you could say the prayers were answered with a yes though at times if must have felt like a no.
- Did the Jerusalem Church receive the financial gift? Maybe. In Acts 24:17 when Paul is on trial before Felix he tells of the reason why he came to Jerusalem. He doesn’t say anything else, Luke doesn’t refer to it, so assume what you want from the scant details, but I say, maybe it was answered favourably.
- So did he reach Rome? Yes but not as we or importantly Paul might have expected! He arrives via a shipwreck and as a prisoner! So it is a yes but not the yes he had envisaged.
So the cynic might question the validity of prayer.
But it isn’t about having a genie in a bottle. It is about aligning ourselves and others with the purpose and story of God who works all things together for good to them that love Him and are called according to that purpose.