Wrestling In Prayer
Epaphras was an evangelist who established the church in Colossae and visited Paul in prison in Rome. He sends personal greetings to his Christian brothers and sisters. But Paul also takes the opportunity to commend Epaphras for his prayer life. What a wonderful friend Epaphras was to the Colossian church. He took prayer very seriously. Indeed he devoted himself to prayer, wrestling over the spiritual issues that beset the church and longing for their full maturity.
Every church planter has a special bond with the church. Having sowed the seed of the gospel and seen the first fruits of the ministry, Epaphras now wanted the believers to be fully assured of the truth they were taught and be able to face the temptations and tests which are inevitable in the Christian life. It was hard work praying for them, and for the other churches in the Lycos valley.
Prayer is a real labour and struggle. It is the essence of spiritual warfare. William Cowper, the 18th Century hymn writer wrote, "And Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees." When we pray we intentionally lift up the banner of the Sovereign God, and declare that He is the all-powerful conqueror. The forces of evil cannot resist Him. But it is often very hard work. We may be distracted, tired, feeling full of our own unworthiness and sometimes even tempted to believe the lie that God will not be interested in responding in power or on time. The battle is real, but essential if we are to live for Jesus and to engage in any sort of ministry in His Name. So be decisive, set aside time; ask to be filled again with the Holy Spirit's energy for the work of prayer and be willing to labour for the sake of the spiritual well-being of others. We do not know the mechanics of prayer (that is not our business), but we do know that God hears and answers. So go to it . .. and pray!
© Dr Paul Adams