Will you go to battle in prayer?
From Colossians: A 28-Day Devotional
What does working hard look like to you? Sweating it out at the gym. Tackling that kitchen reno you’ve talked about for years. Moving a friend into their new apartment.
When we think about hard work, we often think about blood, sweat, and tears. We rarely think about the kind of hard work Paul describes at the end of Colossians.
Colossians 4:12 describes Epaphras wrestling in prayer for his friends back home. Other translations describe him as struggling in prayer and being tireless in his prayers.
Epaphras worked hard on their behalf (Colossians 4:13), and one way he did that was through prayer. Prayer doesn’t have to be our first defense; it can also be our first line of attack.
Epaphras’s love for Christ compelled him to go on the offensive, praying that his brothers and sisters would love Jesus more and more and stand firm in their faith. Note what Epaphras does not pray for. He’s not asking for their problems to come to an end.
Often, when hard times come our way, we ask God to take those same hard things away. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to see cancer healed, a broken heart mended, or a wayward child come home.
But Epaphras reminds us that "God take it away" isn’t the only way to pray for someone who is struggling. Instead, he’s asking that they may grow into mature, confident believers, people whose faith is stronger for having been tested.
Epaphras reminds us that maturity is a precious gift, more valuable than a life of ease. In James 1:2-4, Jesus’ brother writes:
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
Hard work is good for us. Just like it grows our muscles physically, going to work in prayer builds our muscles spiritually. It challenges us to see beyond what we want to see what God might be doing in someone’s life. The result is prayer that draws us into deeper maturity and a heart that wants the same for those we love.
- How would your prayer life change if you took Epaphras’s approach to prayer?
- Who can you pray proactively for today?