31 that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,
Paul had three prayer requests in this passage:
to be delivered from unbelieving Jews,
that believers in Jerusalem would accept financial help from Greece, and
that it would be God’s will for both the Roman church and Paul to be refreshed spiritually.
I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe,
The first explicit content for prayer requested by Paul was that he might be delivered from the gathering storm of Jewish unbelievers when he visited Judea (Ac 20:23). He was nearly killed in the temple when he finally arrived in Jerusalem (Ac 21:26-36). A Jewish plot to kill him was thwarted (Ac 23:12-35).
and that my service for Jerusalem [collection for the saints from Greece] may be acceptable to the saints,
The second specific prayer request by Paul was that his ministry would be “acceptable to the saints.” It was possible that the collection from the saints in Greece might have been rejected by the Jerusalem church because the gift came from Gentiles. That is, they could have reacted against the principle of grace-giving. We know that some Jewish believers were suspicious of Paul (Ac 21:20-25).
Prayer should have specificity
Most of us pray in indistinct, general terms. However, the greater the specificity or precision in prayer, the more effective the prayer will be.
All prayer should have the dual burden:
Pray for me
Pray with me
William Carey said, “I am willing to go down into the pit but you must hold the rope.” We need to recognize the need for intercessory prayer support. This is especially true when we go into the lion’s mouth. We need courage when we go into a dangerous situation. This is dependence on God.