I can’t stop thinking about Epaphras.
It’s been more than a month since the Sunday school where my brother-in-law pointed out the man the Apostle Paul mentions in Colossians 4:12 and it’s still on my mind.
Epaphras (whom we will now affectionately refer to as Mr. E), Paul said, was always struggling in prayer on behalf of the Colossians for the purpose of their standing mature and fully assured in all the will of God.
I love this for (at least) two reasons.
1. He struggled in prayer. Which tells us a couple of things:
• Prayer is a struggle (anyone else ever feel that way? praise that it isn’t just us) and he fought through it.
• And he struggled in prayer for them.
Mr. E wasn’t simply tossing a word salad toward the heavens and calling it a day. He labored in prayer, fighting with and for the Colossians for at least two specific reasons—their maturity and the assurance of the will of God in their lives.
2. He loved these people.
His struggle in prayer proves their value to him. My pastor says if you’re a follower of Christ you can pray for people and not love them but you can’t love them and not pray for them. One flows into the other. Hello conviction. Hello grace.
Aren’t you thankful for the Epaphrases in your life? As I read this again today, the faces of several beautiful people came to mind, people I know are praying for me because they tell me so. And this verse fuels my desire to be like them (and Mr. E).
A challenge to believe
Do we really believe God can do more in one day than we could in a hundred years? If we did, wouldn’t that make a difference in our prayer lives? Wouldn’t we pray with more fervor and intensity if we truly had confidence in what we were praying for and in whom we were praying to?
May God help us to be Epaphrases for others and recalibrate our minds to believe in His power above our own. May we pray and depend on Him like never before as we guard the good deposit entrusted to us.
“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense.
We pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.
Most of us would prefer, however, to spend our time doing something that will get immediate results. We don’t want to wait for God to resolve matters in His good time because His idea of ‘good time’ is seldom in sync with ours.” -Oswald Chambers