The purpose of prayer is emphatically not to bend God’s will to ours, but rather to align our will to his. The promise that our prayers will be answered is conditional on our asking ‘according to his will’. Consequently every prayer we pray should be a variation on the theme, ‘Your will be done.’
Paul now looks into the future and confides to the Romans his travel plans. He specifies three destinations. First, he is about to sail from Corinth to Jerusalem, taking with him the collection which he has long been organizing. Secondly, he is intending to go from Jerusalem to Rome, even though he will only be ‘passing through’ rather than settling down among them for an appreciable period. Thirdly, from Rome he will travel on to Spain, determined to resume his pioneer evangelistic commitment.
Paul takes the Roman church into his confidence about the salient characteristics of his ministry… giving us insight into the outworking of God’s providence in his life and work.
Christian unity is unity in Christ; the person of Jesus Christ himself is the focus of our unity; and therefore the more we agree with him and about him, the more we will agree with one another… so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit…. Our responsibility is to seek to build up the fellowship, not to tear it down. And in particular we must not tear it down for the sake of food.
Because God is the Judge and we are among the judged, let us stop passing judgment on one another, for then we shall avoid the extreme folly of trying to usurp God’s prerogative and anticipate judgment day.
If we are trying to picture a weaker brother or sister, we must not envisage a vulnerable Christian easily overcome by temptation, but a sensitive Christian full of indecision and scruples. What the weak lack is not strength of self-control but liberty of conscience.