“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” (Romans 10:1)
Today marks day one of the By Name Initiative at Seven Mile Road Church. For the next five weeks, we’re committing ourselves to pray every day for at least one person in our lives by name. We’re pleading for God’s saving and renewing grace to break into their life. We’re asking God to provide us with opportunities to share our lives and the gospel with those who don’t know Him. As we get started in this season of prayer, let’s take a moment to consider the words of Paul concerning his friends who did not know God:
1) “Brethren, my heart’s desire…”
Listen to Paul’s words from just a chapter before:
“I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers” (Romans 9:1-3)
His grief over the lostness of his brothers is so real that, if possible, he would forfeit his own salvation in order that others would be saved. Take a moment to consider what Paul is saying. It’s like a man feeling compelled to return a trillion dollar treasure that he inherited after realizing the poverty of his neighbors. Paul’s statement isn’t meant to belittle what he has found in Christ. In fact, it’s the total opposite. It actually stems from a deep realization of the extent of his salvation – it’s an undeserved gift given to the chief of all sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). As a recipient of such mercy and grace, Paul can’t help but feel an overwhelming desire for his brothers to experience the same. The same is true for you and I. We ourselves have been undeservingly pursued and rescued by our Lord and now it compels us to pursue others and point them to our Rescuer.
2) “… and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.”
Paul’s pleading to God for the salvation of his brothers reflects his realization of God’s sovereignty over conversion. Paul thinks back to Christ’s own teaching: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44). It is God alone that can make a dead heart come to life or cause what was once considered foolishness to now be one’s hope. Paul realizes that if it wasn’t for Christ’s interruption of his own life on that road to Damascus, his story would be no different than that of his brothers. Saul becoming Paul was God’s doing and he’s depending on the Lord to do the same for others. Seven Mile Road, we are utterly reliant on God to save anyone. With that being true, it is right that we daily plead before God to save those in our life who don’t believe.
We’re grateful that God has placed this opportunity before us. May Paul’s example help us to persevere in this season of prayer.