Pray for Us

Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner” (Heb. 13:18–19).

- Hebrews 13:18–19

This week we will finish our study of the book of Hebrews as we pick up where we left off in chapter 13. We have come to the very end of the book. Thus, in today’s passage, the author begins to offer His concluding remarks to his audience.

In verse 18, the author asks his audience to remember to pray for him. Considering the situation of the original audience, this request was very important. You may remember that the original audience was struggling in their Christian walk because of persecution. In fact the many warnings in the book (2:1–4; 3:7–4:13; 5:11–6:12; 10:26–31; 12:25–29) might make us think that most of this audience had already apostasized from the faith when the author wrote.

Verse 18 shows us that this cannot be the case. For only the prayers of Christians can avail anything, and it would make no sense for the author to request prayer if he knew that no one in his audience was saved. Notice also that this request for prayer is cast in general terms. He asks everyone to pray because he does not know for certain exactly who in his audience has authentic faith. Just as the warnings, which are also cast in general terms, do not prove that salvation can be lost, so also does the request for prayer, also cast in general terms, not prove that all were saved. No doubt some in the audience had joined the church without true faith. These are the only ones who finally fell away because their faith was inauthentic. The others with true faith persevered, and the request for prayers shows that the author expected that true believers were still in his audience.

In verse 19, the author urgently requests prayer from his audience precisely because he wants to be restored to them sooner rather than later. Interestingly, it seems to imply that if we go to the Lord in prayer, He may act sooner rather than later. It seems that if we ask for something now, God just may act now rather than make us wait.

This is not to say that God never knew when He was going to grant our request or that our prayers were unanticipated. Rather, it reflects the fact that we do not know God’s will, and thus when we pray and things happen, from our perspective, God has sometimes moved faster than we thought He would. However, God always knows when He will move and when we will pray.

Coram Deo

Everything that ever happens has been ordained by God before the foundation of the world. But we do not know the decrees of God, and His ways are past finding out (Rom. 11:33). Therefore, we must live by His revealed will in Scripture, and thus when we pray, we can be confident that God will accomplish His purposes.

Passages for Further Study

Gen. 18:22–33
2 Kings 20:1–11
Matt. 21:22
James 4:2

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