Furthermore, we will dissect the word “prayer” in Rom 10:1. The word prayer in its original text in this verse is deesis (δέησις), which also means needs, wants, indigents, privation, asking, seeking, entreaty, supplication, which also means a request to God.
It is very important to understand the meaning of prayer in the life of a believer. Prayer in the life of a believer is not the same with the meaning of prayer in other religions in general, not even the prayers in Jewish or the people in the Old Covenant. In the New Covenant, where every individual receives the Holy Spirit, prayers are not just requests, but also a dialogue. Why? Because the people in the New Covenant, are those who have to understand things that are desired by the Lord. That is why believers need to have the mindset of Christ (Phil 2:5-7). Therefore, the prayer in Christianity is not simple, it has to be done with daily renewal of the mind, so we can understand the desire of God, what is good, pleasing, and perfect (Romans 12:2). In this case, ideally, believers do not recklessly address their requests to the Lord. They have to think of their desires in a dialogue with the Lord first, before addressing it as a request to Him.
Another aspect in a prayer is that, as a believer that fully owned by God, we do not have the right to have a desire which is not according to God’s will. Everything that is done, needs to match the desire and the will of God. That is why the Lord Jesus teaches us a principle: My food is to do the will of the Father and finish His work. The meaning of this principle is that we live only to do the will of God and finish His work. Therefore, ideally, mature believers need to realize that they do not have the right to ask anything to God, if that request is not in accordance to His desire and plan.
Finally, in a prayer, someone has a great responsibility to do things according to his prayer, but of course if that prayer is according to the plan and will of God, as in the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s prayer is not a formula of a prayer that consists of all requests to be granted. But in that prayer, there is a calling to be fulfilled. If in the Lord’s Prayer there is a sentence that says : “Holy is Your name”, it means that the believers are called to glorify His name. The sentence “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done” consists of a calling so that we bring His Kingdom present, and do the Father’s will. The sentence “give us today our daily bread” means that we need to go out and work, for earning a living.
It is the same with the prayer of Paul, where he wants his nation saved. This means Paul has to work and struggle for the salvation of his nation. Therefore, no wonder if he was brave to say that he was willing to be cursed and separated from Christ for the sake of his brothers, his nation, physically. In the life of Paul, we can see his extraordinary effort and struggle for the sake of other’s salvation.
In one of his testimonies, Paul said in Acts 20:18-24…You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”
In that case, we can understand that a prayer is not a facility to control God and violate the order. God cannot be ruled by anyone. God rules Himself according to the order that has been set by Himself, or the one that exists in Himself. The prayer of Paul did not make God save the Israelites. The Israelites in Paul’s era had to choose freely with their free will, to accept Jesus as the Messiah or not. Paul had to fight to spread the Gospel for his people, so that they give the right response for the sake of their own salvation. This can be emphasized that salvation is not determined by the Lord, but by every individual response.