“Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably. But I especially urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner” (Hebrews 13:18-19).
As the author of Hebrews approaches the end of this letter, his inspired pen will turn to subjects of a more personal nature. First among those subjects is a prayer request. As we consider this passage, it’s interesting to note that our author began with a plural reference: “Pray for us…”. While there may be some uncertainty regarding our author’s location during this time, we do know one thing: he was not alone.
It’s equally interesting to observe our author’s transition back to a singular reference as he expressed what he hoped to achieve through their prayers: “…that I may be restored to you the sooner.” Whether our author was on a journey (or perhaps incarcerated), this likely tells us two things…
- The author of Hebrews was in the company of those who did not share a personal acquaintance with the recipients of this letter.
- He had a personal connection with the members of his original audience and held a deep desire to be reunited with them.
Thus, our author may have been an exile in exile. Not only was he an earthly sojourner who was “looking forward to a home yet to come” (Hebrews 13:14 NLT), he was also among other companions who were unknown to the circle of friends he left behind.
This exhortation to prayer also reminds us of three important qualities that we should ask of God as we seek His provision for our daily lives…
- Wisdom (or knowing what to do in response to the realities of daily life).
- Perception (a truthful assessment of a given situation, or an accurate understanding of how others perceive us).
- Discernment (or the ability to see and understand things as they really are).
These qualities can help us make good, God-honoring choices. They can also help us identify those areas where our words and actions may have an unintended (or negative) effect. Therefore, we would be well-advised to seek God’s provision for these qualities in prayer each day.
Finally, we should note our author’s firm belief in the efficacy (or effectiveness) of prayer. The author of Hebrews genuinely believed that the prayers of his audience would prompt God to enable his speedy return. This passage thus serves as another Biblical example that should encourage to seek God in prayer regarding the circumstances and situations we encounter (see Romans 15:30-32. 2 Corinthians 1:10-11, Philippians 1:19, and Philemon 1:22 for some additional examples).