First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.Romans 1:8-12 ESV
This passage rarely gets mentioned when we discuss Paul’ prayers, but it really is interesting. He’s praying for a church he has never visited, though he is acquainted with some of the people who migrated from other places. Paul says he “longed” to see them. That means to yearn, or passionately desire. That’s strong language! As we head to our own places of worship today, maybe we could use some of Paul’s ideas in our own prayers:
- Express gratitude for the faithful people in your church. Without them there would be no church.
- Mention the name of someone whose life of faith you admire. Thank God for them.
- Thank God for the privilege of gathering together with other believers.
- Pray that you will long for what Paul longed for:
- The opportunity to give strength to someone else.
- The opportunity (and willingness) to be encouraged by their faith. Pray that you will connect with someone long enough to let their faith encourage your faith.
Paul was passionate about this. We can be, too. Let God give you a heart of gratitude and passion for the faithful lives of other believers. Let’s do this!