In an earlier post I explained why prayers such as Romans 15:13 are so important and instructive. In this one I want to unpack Paul’s petition with two of five observations.
First, God is no miser with his mercy. Note the words “fill”, “all”, and “abound”.
Paul prays that God will “fill” us with joy and peace, not simply “give” or “impart” or “enable” us to experience these blessings, but that he might “fill” us with them! His emphasis is on the effusive, generous, expansive abundant, overflowing, and measureless way in which God answers prayers (cf. Ps. 16:11). We don’t simply “have” or “possess” these blessings: we are “filled” with them, inundated and awash and overflowing with them.
Note also that it is not “some” joy or a “fraction” of peace or “a small measure” of hope. Paul prays that we be filled with “all” joy and “all”. Not just a little here and there but with the totality of joy and the entirety of peace.
Furthermore, we don’t simply “hope.” Far less do we hang on by our fingernails. Rather we “abound” in hope! Again Paul points to the lavishness of God’s grace. God is no miser when it comes to his mercy. This is no tentative, anxious, uncertain, doubt-filled wish. It is a prayer for the overflowing and effusive gift of God’s grace.
Second, Paul prays for joy and peace because he knows that pleasure in God is the power for purity.
In yet another passage Paul stated clearly that his motive for ministry was the joy of God’s people (2 Corinthians 1:23-24). Whatever decisions he made, whatever he wrote in his epistles, was always based on what he believed would best serve their joy! Paul had some harsh things