1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.
There should not be a chapter break between the end of chapter nine and the beginning of chapter 10. In Romans 9:30 the Gentiles did not pursue a right relation to God, but the Jews did (9:31). Although the Jews sought a right relation to God, they did not find it, because they pursued it in the wrong way and by an incorrect system (9:32). Israel’s stumbling over the stumbling stone (9:33) was personal grief to Paul (10:1ff). His heart’s prayer was that the Israelites would come to Christ as their Savior.
Romans nine sets forth election, whereas chapter 10 presents human responsibility in salvation. There is no tension between human responsibility and God’s sovereign selection of His scheme of salvation. Chapter 10 argues for the human responsibility side of salvation.
Paul made a heart-felt appeal to the Roman church about their common brotherhood in Christ.
my heart’s desire [good will] and prayer [supplication] to God for Israel is that they may be saved.
Although Paul criticized the Israelites for their false system of salvation, he still had a burden for their salvation. He did not hold an attitude of resentment toward Jews who held a false belief system about salvation. Instead of hating them, he prayed that his own people would come to Christ.
Prayer has a part in reaching the lost for Christ.
Prayer has a part in saving those without Christ. Clearly Paul believed that God would answer his prayer for Israel. He believed that prayer for the salvation of his people was his responsibility. There was nothing in the doctrines of predestination or election that prohibited him from this prayer.
Supplication is to petition God about something. This is a prayer that God will arrange circumstances and situations to convince people to believe in Christ. We pray that God will work under His providential auspices.