Today’s passage in the NET translation.
15:30 Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, to join fervently with me in prayer to God on my behalf. 15:31 Pray that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea and that my ministry in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 15:32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. 15:33 Now may the God of peace be with all of you. Amen.
It’s not often that Paul asks for prayer for himself, so I’m going to be curious to analyze this passage.
Parsing the first sentence down to it’s simplest form, Paul says “I urge you to join me in prayer on my behalf.” So I observe that he’s not asking them to do something he’s not already doing. He sees it as urgent. He asks for fervent prayer. He recognizes that prayer happens through Jesus and the Spirit’s love.
The specific requests are 1. to be rescued from the disobedient Judeans, 2. that his ministry may be acceptible to the Jerusalem saints 3. in order that he may come to the Romans with joy and be refreshed.
He’s asking for protection, fruitful ministry and joyful refreshment.
The first request surprises me because I view Paul as being fearless and not running from persecution. This seem to be the cause for his “urgent” request. I see Paul as being content in any and every situation (Phil 4:10-13) and so this surprises me.
The second request doesn’t surprise me. Fruitful, acceptable minstry seems like a good thing to pray for.
Third request also surprises me at first. He asks them to pray for his joyful refreshment. Sounds kind of self-centered at first — I mean he doesn’t ask for joy for the Romans, just for himself. But then I reflect on the concept that he’s wanting to be refreshed by their company. They will be blessed as he is refreshed. They will receive the joy of giving, just as he receives the joy of receiving. It’s a mutual delight, which I’ve thought about quite a bit in other contexts. This kind of delight ought to occur betwen spouses in lovemaking. It’s also experienced as we delight in the Lord’s delight of us. So asking to be satisfied in them is a way of honoring these Roman friends.