THE MINISTRY OF PRAYER

Scripture Reading: Colossians 4:7-18

“Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Jesus Christ greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.” (Colossians 4:12)

A great example of the ministry of prayer is found in Paul’s words about Epaphras. Epaphras was most likely the founder of the church at Colossae (1:7). While Epaphras was ministering to Paul when he was in prison, he also ministered to the congregation in Colossae through his prayers.

Notice what Epapras prayed for the members of the church — “that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.” In essence, his prayer sums up the entire epistle to the Colossians — that believers are complete in Christ — “And in Him you have been made complete” (2:10a). Epapras was praying that the Colossians would realize that Jesus Christ is sufficient for their every need. He also prayed that they would be assured in all the will of God.

Notice also the manner in which Epapras prayed — “struggling on you behalf in his prayers.” His prayers were fervent and sincere. They were not casual prayers but rather prayers filled with urgency and heart-felt love.

This passage convicted me of my casual and selfish prayers. I realize how important it is for us to struggle on behalf of others in our prayers. This is especially true for the prayers we offer on behalf of our spouses, our children, our grandchildren and other loved ones. We need to pray for their spiritual maturity and that they would be fully assured of God’s will for their lives.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of prayer. Thank You for listening to my prayers, even though at times they seem casual and weak. I confess that most of the time I do not struggle in my prayers on behalf of others. Today I lift up those I love most to You. I pray for their spiritual maturity — that they would know Christ in deeper ways and seek to live their lives for His glory. I pray that they would know that Jesus is sufficient for all their needs. And I pray that they would be fully assured of Your will for their lives.

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