Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
The devotional for this week come from Romans 1 and considers Paul’s prayer for the church. One aspect of his prayer is a desire to see them so that they might mutually encourage one another. The Lord did not intend us to live the Christian life in solitary – in other words, the New Testament knows nothing of ‘lone-ranger’ Christians. Rather, we are called to live in fellowship with one another. What does this look like in your life? Is spending time with and praying for your brothers and sisters in our church a priority? May Paul’s heart challenge us to consider one another throughout the week, and not simply on Sunday!
Some announcements for the week:
- TONIGHT we will meet at the VanTubergen’s home at 7:00 to continue our study in Galatians. Their address is 8803 Catawissa Drive, Houston, 77095.
- THIS SATRDAY we will enjoy our Spring picnic at the Pastorek’s home. The weather looks to be beautiful. Come and join us for a fun afternoon. Please RSVP if you have not done so. Check your evite invitation for details.
- Our Spring retreat with Providence OPC will be April 23-25. See here for info and to register: http://providencepres.com/retreat/.
- Note the dates for the OPC summer youth camp: June 22-27. See here for more info: http://www.opcsouthwest.org/summer-youth-camp/.
- Finally, this week’s devotion (attached) is a reflection from Romans 1 on Paul’s prayer for the church.
God bless and I look forward to seeing all of you soon.
From the Pastor’s Desk
“A Prayer for Rome”
Romans 1:9, “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.”
The Letter to the Romans is Paul’s grandest treatment of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this letter, Paul expounds the glorious blessings of the believer’s union with Christ. The Christian is justified, adopted, sanctified, and glorified in Christ (Rom 3:24; 5:9; 6:3-11; 8:13-17; 28-30). I fear that too often, however, we miss the riches of truth contained in Paul’s opening greeting and prayer (1:1-15). In this devotion, I want to spend a few moments reflecting on Paul’s prayer for the church at Rome (vv. 8-15).
First, we note Paul’s fervency in prayer for his brothers and sisters at Rome: he prays “always” for them and he prays “without ceasing” for them” (vv. 9, 10a). Paul longed to go to Rome “to preach the gospel” there. Also, it is evident that Paul had never met the believers in Rome face to face, yet his heart overflowed for them in love and prayer (cf. Col 2:1; 1:9ff).
Second, we note the content of Paul’s prayer for the believers in Rome. Paul is thankful for them: “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world” (v. 8). Specifically, Paul is thankful to the Lord for the believers in Rome. He is thankful for the grace of God in their life. He is thankful for their faith (cf. 2 Pet 1:1). He is thankful for the work of grace in the lives of the Roman Christians. Moreover, he is thankful for what their faith signifies, namely, the advance of the kingdom and the spread of the gospel ‘in all the world’ (v. 8b). Paul is thankful that the promise of God is being fulfilled (Acts 1:8) and that sinners are being saved.
Not only is Paul thankful for them, but also he is concerned about them: “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you” (v. 11). Paul desires their growth in grace. He wants to see them in order to encourage them – to spur them on in the faith. His overarching concern for them is for their spiritual well-being (cf. Col 1:9-13). But more than this, he wants to see them that he might be encouraged by them: “that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine” (v. 12). Mutual encouragement! The great Apostle Paul desires fellowship with his brothers and sisters that he might be built up (cf. Eph 6:19). Paul understands his own sinfulness (see Rom 7:14-25), and he recognizes the importance of the fellowship of the saints. Paul does not view himself as the Super-apostle – not at all! Rather he views himself as a sinner saved by grace zealous for the glory of God (1 Tim 1:15; 1 Cor 10:31). He understands the importance of the body of Christ – that we are called to ‘build one another up’ (1 Thess 5:11).
Brothers and sisters, spend time in studying Paul’s prayers for the churches. And ask that the Spirit give you such a zeal for prayer. A healthy Christian is a praying Christian and a healthy church is a praying church. Today may we be thankful for one another and concerned about one another. Thank the Lord for your brothers and sisters in Christ in our local church! And may we pray for one another! May we pray that God’s grace would be at work in one another. May we pray for spiritual growth and maturity; for victory over sin; for contentment in our sovereign Savior; and for the spread of the gospel and manifestation of God’s glory!