Paul prayed for the Church throughout the New Testament. He crafted 13 letters, over half of the New Testament, written to a specific church or individual or group of people. However these letters were to make their circuit to all the churches. These letters empower us today to live our lives with deep convictions of truth. Paul highlights God's heart for His people. He wants us to understand God's heart so we may live in right relationship to Him. Today I want to highlight one of his prayers to the Roman believers.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit," Romans 15:13.
The source of our hope is God! This is one of His names~ "God of hope". The hope we have is anchored in eternity. It is not the natural hope that is birthed on earth. Natural hope wants or wishes for something to happen. I hope I get married. I hope I find a good job. I hope I get a good grade on a test. This kind of hope has no real foundation. The hope Paul is describing is only available to believers, because the source is God Himself. As we pray for ourselves and others to be "overflowing with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit", pray through the points below. I have made it easy, using the acronym H.O.P.E.
1) H=Heavenly. Pray that hope would be rooted in heaven. The Bible dictionary defines heavenly hope as "favorable and confident expectation of the future; the happy anticipation of good". Pray for the Church to access the hope made available to them; to anticipate good and to have a confident expectation of the future. We are secure and sure because our hope is anchored in God. Check your heart in hope. Do you have the happy anticipation of good? Do you have a confident expectation of the future?
2) O=Overflowing. Pray that hearts and minds would be overflowing with heavenly hope. It is important to fill our thought life with the Truth of God's Word. His words transform our thinking, which affects what we speak and how we live. Pray for hope-filled speech to come forth from our lips and the lips of other believers. Hope infects others. We will reflect the kingdom we are most aware of (earth or heaven). What overflows from your heart?
3) P=Perspective. Pray for a fresh perspective for the Church, that believers would experience God's Presence and promises and begin to align their hearts and lives to live from heavenly hope. We need to redefine our belief system. Get a higher vantage point about your circumstances or relationships. How do you view the world? Are you seeking God's perspective on the world? How do you pray for the promises God has given you? Do not let fear or past experience or another's experience depict your expectations of the future. Draw on the hope of the Kingdom of heaven. "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see," Hebrews 11:1. I read a translation of this verse, "You reach into nowhere, grab hold of nothing and hold on until it becomes something". We live by faith, not by sight. Our hope is rooted in the confidence that what God has said will come true because He is faithful to every word He speaks. What promise are you holding onto from the Lord? What has He spoken about your marriage/family/occupation/relationships/finances/etc? Not one word of His will fail, so get His perspective on every area of your life. Pray this for believers.
4) E=Endurance. The last part of heavenly hope is to pray for the Church to persevere. Believing that God will fulfill the promises even while you are in the waiting. Truth is held in the tension between these two realities, the promise and the waiting. Endurance means to bear up, steadfastness, constancy, hope that actively resists weariness & defeat. Do not waiver in unbelief, keep hope awake in your heart. Pray for heavenly hope to be awakened in the hearts of believers.
You can see from this one verse (Romans 15:13), there is much to pray! Every verse in Scripture is filled with layers of truth. The Word is a deep ocean of discovery.
This week, pray for yourself, your family, your spouse, your friends, your co-workers, your local church, etc from Romans 15:13. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit". This HOPE is a powerful weapon. It is a weapon we wield against the enemy.