Prayer Paradox

30 Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me (Romans 15).

This is the only place in the Bible where the phrase “by the love of the Spirit” occurs. Perhaps it is because Paul has just “urged” his readers (using the verb form “parakaleo”), thus making him also think of the “Spirit” or “Comforter” (noun form—“parakletos”—as Jesus referred to the Spirit He would send them, according to John 14:16). It is only through the Spirit that we will ever take it upon ourselves to “strive together” (literally, “agonize”) in prayer for others.

The Bible is full of paradoxes, and here lies yet another: it is the One who “comforts” who causes us to “agonize” in prayer, while also in our “agonizing” for others, it is the same Spirit who “comforts” us. Without the Spirit of God, we simply would not care enough to agonize in prayer for others. Likewise, without the Spirit directing our prayers, we would soon despair in our striving.

Lord, thank You for Your Spirit (the One who “comes alongside to comfort”), who both motivates and comforts us in our prayers for others. May You come alongside us often This Day. Amen.