Paul said in Romans 1:10, "Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you." Here we see that Paul has a desire to visit the believers in Rome.
Paul is writing this letter to the Romans from Corinth where Paul was completing a collection for the poor in Jerusalem (1 Cor. 16:1-4). From there Paul was to go to Jerusalem and deliver the money, and then go to Rome. Paul had no idea what awaited him in Jerusalem.
Now keep in mind that Paul did pray, "by any means", a “prosperous journey” and "by the will of God." There is no doubt that Paul wanted to go to Rome and the Lord wanted him to go as well. It’s just that Paul had no idea how it was going to happen.
When Paul arrived in Jerusalem, he was jailed for inciting the Jews (Acts 22:22-29). He was then brought before Felix the governor (Acts 23:23-24). However, Felix could not find fault in him, but he still held Paul in prison for two years to please the Jews (Acts 24:27).
Then a governor came into office who heard Paul’s case once again and his name was Festus. Festus could not find any fault in Paul either, but still left him in prison as well (Acts 25:1-12).
Then later King Agrippa and his wife came to visit Festus and Paul requested permission to speak with the king as well (Acts 25:22). It was during this questioning by King Agrippa that Agrippa made that famous statement, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian (Acts 26:24-28).
After speaking with King Agrippa, Paul requested that his case be heard by Caesar himself. He was then placed on board a ship bound for Rome. When he boarded the ship, the Lord tells him that the ship is going to sink at sea and that's exactly what it did(Acts 27:9-11)!
They get out to sea and sure enough the storm comes and for 14 days the ship is beaten by the sea and then finally began to sink. After the ship sank, they were all safely washed up on the island of Malta without any lose of life (Acts 27:39-44). Now remember that Paul did say, "if by any means…I might have a prosperous journey, by the will of God to come unto you."
After being washed up on the island Paul got bitten by a venomous snake (Acts 28:1-6). All of the islanders expected him to drop dead. However, after he didn't, they decided that he was indeed a god. This gave Paul an opportunity to share Christ with them and the entire island got saved. Paul did say, "if by any means…I might have a prosperous journey, by the will of God to come unto you."
It was after all of this that Paul arrived in Rome (Acts 28:11-16)!
Was it a prosperous journey? You bet it was! Paul had no idea that when he prayed that prayer, God was going to bring him to Rome, just as he had requested, but three years later as a prisoner in chains! But, God did answer is prayer!
In the process, he delivered money to the poor in Jerusalem and shared his faith is Felix, Festus, King Agrippa, everyone on board the ship and the entire Island of Malta. Was God gloried? You bet!!
How About You? What are you asking God for today? Are you ready the answer? Are you ready for the way in which He might answer?
I’ve found that God rarely answers prayers on our conditions, because our conditions are usually self-centered, not God centered. We need to learn how to let go and let God. He is going to do it His way and we are just merely along for the ride. Saddle up!