Chapter 13: 18-25
“Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably. 19 But I especially urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner. 20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. 22 And I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words. 23 Know that our brother Timothy has been set free, with whom I shall see you if he comes shortly. 24 Greet all those who rule over you, and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you. 25 Grace be with you all. Amen.”
As we approach the end of our journey in the great book of Hebrews, I pray that you have learned, as I have studied it, the wonders of our salvation that we have in Jesus. That you have seen the absolute confidence we can have in God’s power to both save us and keep us saved. That you have seen the very clear connections to the Old Testament, and you will now gain more and more confidence in reading the Old Testament when you see the connections between the two. I pray that you will see that God has never been caught off guard and that even our salvation was never a ‘plan B,’ but THE PLAN from the very beginning. I pray that you will draw closer to Jesus as you, and I, for that matter, struggle with our carnal man, our flesh and its desires.
May we grow more and more gracious to each other as we experience the loving kindness of God when we fail. I pray that we will see and appreciate the lengths to which God and Jesus went to redeem us from death and Hell. I pray that we will all live more deliberately for the Lord as he died deliberately for us.
Pray for us, verse 18
I have met Christians from all around the world. Just last night, I had a conversation with a lady from Beijing; she is a born-again lady. We talked for an hour or so about the Lord and about life as a Christian in China. We vowed to pray for each other. I have dear friends whom I have never met face to face, but they love the Lord, they live and work in Pakistan, and they are always asking us to pray for them. Here in Hebrews, written sometime in the mid-first century, Paul, a captive in Rome, is asking for his brothers and sisters to pray for them. This is one of the most important things that we can do for each other, and I think we take it for granted.
Knowing that someone is actively praying for you is powerful. I have a dear friend who is a pastor in Indiana, and every now and then, I will get a simple message saying, ‘I prayed for you today.’ Oh, what wonderful words to read, feel, and see! Someone thought about me, my family, and our church. There is this energy and this power that comes to God’s people when they know that there are people praying for them.
Do you pray regularly for your Christian friends, your kids, your Pastor, your Sunday School teachers, and your kids’ bus driver? Do you have a missionary that you pray for regularly? Let them know that you are praying for them. Paul needed prayer; your missionary friend does as well. Do they have children? Maybe you can get your children involved by praying for their kids. But pray, when all else is happening, pray. The same Paul puts it this way in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Pray without ceasing; we should always be in a state of communication with God about everything, and we should be praying for each other as often as we can. Pray for us. Send your requests, and we will pray for you.
Living Honorably, verse 18
What do we pray for? Paul tells them that his desire is to live honorably. Why? Paul was under house arrest in Rome, and as we can see later in the text, verse 24, “Those from Italy greet you’.” He was sending greetings from the Christians in Rome. Paul won most of the soldiers, it would seem, that guarded him, and he won many of the household of Ceasar; see Philippians 4:22.
“All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.”
Paul lived in such a way that even as a prisoner, he led his captors to the Lord. We should pray for each other that we live honorably in this world and that we, too, can win our friends, neighbors, and acquaintances to the Lord. Paul led many to the Lord, but he had many brothers and sisters praying for him and meeting his needs in Rome. This is what happens when we begin to pray for others; the Lord begins to show us how to help, how to make a difference in these folks’ lives, and you become the catalyst for how God helps and how you can spearhead others to help. You see, in this way, the person being prayed for can actively see the hand of God meeting needs. This empowers them to be more committed to the work and more secure in God’s commitment to them, and it helps to calm fears, the kind of fears that we all have.
There are countless stories of men and women who have been bolstered by someone praying for them, and often, they did not even know that they were being prayed for. Let us pray for each other that we would live honorably among the people in our lives and, as such, create an environment that offers people a place to come and talk, chat, cry, ask for help, and even just shoot the breeze so as to create a window for the Holy Spirit to find a way in.
James 5:16, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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