Romans 1:9 NASB
“For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you,”
An interesting idiom is used in this verse. The phrase “in my spirit” has the same meaning as “from the bottom of my heart” or “with all my heart”. Essentially, Paul is saying; “I serve God with all my heart in the preaching of the gospel of Jesus!” He’s laid everything down on the line for the gospel, held nothing back and makes the preaching of the gospel his priority in life. Paul reminds me of an olympic athlete that breaths, eats and sleeps training. Everything in their life points towards this one goal, to win. Paul is exactly like an olympic athlete but he trains and wins for the gospel. The question could be asked, what makes Paul such a devoted man of God that every fiber in his being serves God’s purposes? I think it’s the deep spiritual understanding of how great God’s grace is towards him. Paul views himself very humbly even though he is viewed as one of the father’s of the Christian faith. He is humble and devoted because he understood (better then we do) how terrible the wrath of God was against him as a sinner and how great God’s grace is towards him as a saint. It is because of this embracing and understanding of God’s grace that allows Paul to be single minded towards the goal of serving God.
It might seem odd that Paul uses God as “my witness” in how much time he spends praying for the church in Rome. But the church didn’t know Paul personally and had never met him. He doesn’t have a relationship with them but is writing a very personal letter to them. In order to show them just how much he appreciates them and wants them to know that they are loved is by revealing his “unceasingly” prayers to God for them. Devout Jews could spend hours a day praying to God in the mornings and evenings. Paul spent much time in prayer, but specifically much time in prayer for the churches abroad, including those in Rome. He wants them to know that God is the witness as to the prayers that are lifted up to Him. And we believers, believe in the power of prayer and how it moves mountains. No doubt, God used Paul to move mountains through his prayer life.
We can learn a valuable lesson from Paul’s prayer life. It should be unceasing. Meaning, we should continually be praying throughout the day as a manner of habit. We should be praying for our church, our family and all those God has laid on our heart to pray for. I think it’s easy to feel that prayer doesn’t accomplish much but if Scripture is a lesson in prayer, it shows that prayer is a mighty force that moves the heart and hand of God and is our spiritual weapon in this life.