Now I beseech you, brethren
Having declared his intention of coming to them, and his confidence of it, he entreats an interest in their prayers; and which he urges from the consideration of their mutual relation as "brethren"; and therefore should love one another, and show it, among other things, by praying for each other to their common parent, in whom they have a joint interest, saying, as directed by Christ, "our Father which art in heaven", ( Matthew 5:45 ) ; thereby signifying, that they prayed not for themselves only, but for all the brethren, all the children of God: and this the apostle further urges,
for Christ's sake;
whose servant he was, and in whose cause he was engaged, whose Gospel he preached, and whose glory he sought; and therefore, if they had any regard for Christ, and the good of his interest, he beseeches them that they would pray for the continuance of his life and usefulness; since for him to live was for the good of the churches of Christ, though for him to die would be his own personal gain: and which he also stirs them up to,
for the love of the Spirit;
meaning either the love of the Father, and of the Son, which was shed abroad in their hearts by the Spirit, which he had directed them into, and they had a comfortable sensation of; or that love to God, to Christ, and one another, which the Spirit of God had wrought in them in regeneration; or that love with which the Spirit of God equally loved them, as the Father, and the Son; and which he had shown in their conversion and sanctification, in applying all grace unto them, and indwelling in them as the Spirit of adoption, and as the earnest and pledge of the heavenly inheritance.
That ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.
The apostle prayed for himself, as he had been wont to do ever since he was a converted man; but knowing well the force of united social prayer, he desires the assistance of others. He represents prayer as an agony, an holy conflict, and striving with God, a wrestling with him, as Jacob did, who held him, and would not let him go without the blessing, and had power with him, and prevailed. The phrase denotes the fervency of prayer, the strength, labour, and energy of it; see ( Colossians 4:12 ) ; and also intimates, that the apostle foresaw he should have a combat with many enemies where he was going, and should be in great danger by them; and therefore desires they would join him in the use of their spiritual armour, and in that particular part of it, prayer, which has been often used to good purpose against the enemies of the Gospel: he does not desire these Romans to beg the assistance of their senate or emperor: but to pray to God for him, and join with him in their prayers to him, who is a God hearing prayer, and able to save. The petitions he would have them put up to him, are as follow: