He’s a preacher named Epaphras who is said to have helped establish the first-century church at Colossae. And he’s such a close friend of the apostle Paul that he visits him in a Roman prison and decides to stay awhile.
But this one verse makes me wish we knew a whole lot more about him than just that. Here’s Paul, writing to the Colossians:
“Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Colossians 4: 12
That phrase, “always wrestling in prayer for you”, resonates with me. In my mind’s eye, I see our friend Epaphras on his face before God. He’s not “wrestling” in the sense that he’s begging God to do something God doesn’t want to do, but he’s striving to represent the Colossians well, and seeking God’s will for them.
Epaphras really wants to get it right.
It is apparent that as he prays, Epaphras hits on exactly what it is that God wants for the Colossians: that they would stand firm in His will, and that they would be mature and confident in their faith. That’s a request God will certainly say “yes” to.
How does Epaphras know to pray this?
One of the coolest things I know about prayer, I read in Romans 8:26-27:
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27
As we Christians pray, our words are edited by God’s Spirit so that what we ask is in line with God’s will for us. Even when we don’t know what to pray and perhaps all we can do is sigh (or cry), the Holy Spirit puts words to it and implores God in our stead.
That is just amazing.
As a young Christian, I used to wonder what the point was in praying, if God was going to do what God was going to do, regardless. But I think I see the answer in Epaphras. Continue reading