A name not very familiar to us, but very familiar in heaven is Epaphras. We read about him in the book of Colossians and Philemon. He was a disciple of Paul, fellow laborer of Paul and a fellow prisoner with Paul (Philemon 23). Colossians 1:7 tells us that he was a leader of the church in Colossae who spoke and demonstrated the message of the gospel. Colossians 4:12 tells us that he was “...always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.”
A word that defined Epaphras’ life is prayerfulness. He wrote no book or letter to the church. We don’t hear anything else about his life~ of miracles/signs/vision/etc. What we know of his life is that he wrestled in prayer for the church of Colossae, not for revival to break out in the city of Colossae nor for salvation of souls. He prayed for the believers with a fervency. His prison cell became a place of sweet fragrance before the Lord as he labored in prayer.
He knew to align himself with the Lord in attitude and practice in such a way that he prayed effectively, praying not simply for what he wanted, but for what God wanted. His prayers were filling the golden bowls of incense on behalf of the believers whom he loved.
God’s strategy for winning the lost is the church walking in the anointing of God ~ we pray mostly for the church, not for the lost, not for the transformation of society, not for revival. Someone has said that Satan’s orders are ‘fight not with small or great, but only with the praying people’.
The call to us is to pray for believers with earnestness. God loves His whole body & He is not embarrassed by the weakest family member. The body of Christ is precious and holy to the Lord. We read of Saul’s Damascus Road experience in Acts 9. “As he (Saul) neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ Jesus replied…” Acts 9:3-5. Jesus is equating Himself with His people. He identifies with those whom he loves.
How can we respond? What can we learn from the life of Epaphras? How can you and I be steadfast and fervent in prayer for the Church?