Epaphras provides a great example for pastoral leadership and for an understanding of how you and I can make a difference in the world.
Based on what we know, Epaphras served as the pastor of the church at Colossae in what is now Turkey. Apparently, he came to know the Lord under the leadership of the apostle Paul in Ephesus. Paul mentored him in the faith and Epaphras took what he learned to the Lycus River Valley, where three churches began at Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis (Colossians 1:7).
Because of his faithfulness, the gospel took hold in that region.
Epaphras is also known because of his fervent prayer (Colossians 4:12-13).
He prayed for his congregation urgently and fervently that they might stand firm in all the will of God. What can we learn about prayer from this man?
First, we also must pray fervently and urgently. Epaphras gave his best in prayer. The New International Version said he “wrestled” in prayer. That is an apt translation of the Greek word. We get the English word “agony” from the word used to describe Epaphras’ urgent prayer. He agonized in prayer for the people of Colossae.
Should we do any less in our praying?
The apostle James gave us the example of Elijah who prayed urgently and fervently that it wouldn’t rain. For over three years it did not rain. Then, he prayed again that it would rain and it did (James 5:17-18).
We need to follow the example of these two great man of prayer.
Second, we need to pray explicitly. Colossians 4:12–13 gives us the specifics of his prayer. He prayed that the believers might stand firm in all the will of God. He all also prayed that those believers might be mature and fully assured. Another way of putting it is that he wanted the followers of Christ to be fully grown in the Lord. We need to explicitly pray for our growth in Christ and for those people around us as well.
Third, we need to pray believing. Again and again, Jesus encouraged us to pray in faith, knowing our heavenly Father hears our prayers. We know that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
If we are praying for those things which please our Father, we can be confident that He hears and that He will give us what we ask.
I want to encourage you to pray.
What can we do that would be more meaningful than our taking the needs of our world to our Father who loves and cares for us and wants to bless us?
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