In Romans 15:32, Paul writes,
32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.
Notice how Paul ties in the prayers of his brothers and sisters with the will of God—“so that by God’s will I may come.”
Abraham Lincoln once said, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day” (Boice, Romans, 1897).
To say prayer is necessary isn’t to say that God “changes his mind” because of our prayers. Nor does the necessity of prayer simply mean that God changes us through our prayers. It encompasses both of those thoughts.
Here’s how that works. God not only appoints the end results that he desires, but he also appoints the means toward those ends.
John Calvin, in his commentary on Romans, wrote this. “The phrase through the will of God reminds us of the necessity of devoting ourselves to prayer, since God alone directs all our paths by his providence” (Calvin, Romans).
Tim Keller writes,
P. Clowney wrote, “The Bible does not present an art of prayer; it presents a
God of prayer.” We should not decide how to pray based on the experiences and
feelings we want. Instead, we should do everything possible to behold our God
as he is, and prayer will follow. The more clearly we grasp who God is, the
more our prayer is shaped and determined accordingly.
Keller, Prayer, 62
Take some time right now to pray for you and your church to be a shining light for the gospel.