Romans 1:9-13 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you- 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine. 13 I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.
Take a look at Paul’s statement concerning his prayer for the Roman Christians (saints). Paul calls God as his witness that he prays without ceasing for them. When you say you will pray for someone, could you call God as your witness to confirm that you did pray for him/her? We are to follow Paul’s example (1 Corinthians 11:1). Why did Paul pray for the Roman saints? One reason is that he was serving God in the gospel of His Son. The word translated serving means to be fulfilling his God-given assignment. Paul was not only to preach the gospel but to pray for the people who hear the gospel (Acts 6:4 – an apostle was called to a ministry of the word and prayer). Each of us have a ministry of the word and prayer in our families and local churches. Are you fulfilling your service in the gospel by praying for those in your family and in your local church?
Paul prayed for them that he might fulfill his longing to come to them and strengthen them using his gift of grace and be encouraged by the Roman saints’ faith (see 1 Peter 4:10 for Peter’s apostolic teaching on using the grace we have to serve others). Paul also desired to reap a harvest among the unbelieving Romans frequenting the church gatherings and from the other unbelieving gentiles in Rome. Are you desiring to help unbelievers in your family and local church know Jesus?
Paul was praying to visit the Roman saints because he often intended to see them but was prevented by the priority of his God-given assignment to preach the gospel where it had not been preached (see Romans 15:18-22). Do you know your primary God-given assignment? Does your primary assignment prevent you from doing some “other good things” or do “other good things” keep you from your primary assignment? Follow Paul’s example and keep doing your primary assignment even when it hinders you from other good things. Pray for a time when doing your primary assignment intersects with another good thing you desire to do.