“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved.”
So Paul opens the tenth chapter of Romans after lamenting his Jewish brethren’s blind adherence to the law of Moses and rejection of faith in Christ.
In this text we find for ourselves a plan for soul winning. Consider the following words and phrases and how each can help us be better soul winners.
“My” – Indicates the individual’s responsibility to win souls. The Great Commission is so vast in its scope so as to require the very best effort of every Christian to fulfill. Tragically, many Christians have shirked or ignored their responsibility to be soul winners. Members of large churches have abdicated their roles to their increasingly large church staffs, and small country churches have given up because “everyone around here already goes to church somewhere or has already been taught.” Both excuses are a path to perdition!
“Heart’s” – indicates the root of soul winning. In the Bible, the heart represents the seat of one’s passions, desires and purposes. We must have an earnest desire to win souls! Any worthwhile endeavor requires passion to be brought to completion, especially one as massive as the Great Commission.
“Desire” – Indicates the resolve of a soul winner. Passion and excitement carry’s one only so far. It takes a firm resolve to continue and press on when the hard work and opposition comes (see Nehemiah).
“Prayer to God” – indicates the request of a soul winner. Things of importance occupy a place of preeminence in our prayers (sickness, children, work, etc). Do the lost and my responsibility to teach them occupy a place in my prayers?
“For Israel” – indicates the recipient of my attention. Paul prayed specifically for Israel. We should be specific in our prayers. We need to pray for the lost by name that these may occupy a place of preeminence in our daily thoughts and actions.
“That they might be saved” – Is the reward of the soul winner. Paul spoke of the Philippians as his “joy and crown” (Phil 4:1). Those who are saved at the Judgment only add to our reward (1 Cor 3:14).