Epaphras was apparently from the church at Colossae, but was in Rome when Paul wrote the above verse about him. Physical distance could not hinder his intercessory prayer ministry on behalf of the Colossians. The expression, “one of you” makes us think of his ability to feel and to bear, as his own, the needs of his brethren. When he prayed for them, like Daniel, he had no trouble in identifying with them, although no doubt he was himself already a mature and godly believer. Next we read that he was “a servant of Christ.” He was completely devoted to Christ’s interests in the world, considering no title higher than “a servant” or bond-slave “of Christ.” His prayers, therefore, on behalf of others were not from mixed or selfish motives, but wholly for God’s glory. How easy it is to pray for others when we have our own interests in view!
We learn that his praying was “always,” not just when he could spare the time, or if he occasionally remembered them or only in the prayer meeting! No doubt, like Paul, he could have said, “Ye are in our hearts to die and live with you” (2 Cor. 7:3).
Then we find the words “laboring fervently” which translate the one Greek word agonizomai, meaning, as we might guess, “to agonize, contend, wrestle.” God had shared with him His feelings and desires for the Colossian believers to such an extent that he agonized on their behalf before Him. need we even comment on how far removed that is from our brief, shallow and often unfelt prayers such as, “God, bless our brethren at Colossae.”
Finally he prayed specifically for them to the end that they might become mature and fully answer to God’s desire for them with regard to every aspect of His will. He prayed that they might become practically what they already were positionally – “complete” in God’s will.
Let us notice just one more word regarding Epaphras’ prayer for them. He prayed that they might “stand,” which tells us that he was not content with a momentary carrying out of God’s will by them, but he agonized in order that it might be their permanent state.
Beloved brothers and sisters, what shall we say? Do we not sense the need for men and women like Epaphras today – for true servants of Christ with whom God can share His sorrows, His burdens and concerns for His people, and who will respond by “laboring fervently,” yes, agonizing in prayer on behalf of the Church which is so dear to His heart? Is God calling you to this high and holy service?
By Carolyn E. Gibb
Ten Convincing Contrasts
|The Believer Is:||The Unbeliever Is:|
|1.||Dead to sin (1 Pet. 2:24)||Dead in Sin (Eph. 2:1)|
|2.||Saved from wrath (Rom. 5:9)||Under God’s wrath (Eph. 2:3)|
|3.||Near to Christ (eph. 2:13)||Without Christ (Eph. 2:12)|
|4.||Free from judgment (Jn. 5:24)||Under condemnation (Jn. 3:18)|
|5.||No longer blind (2 Cor. 3:14-16)||Blinded by Satan (2 Cor. 4:4)|
|6.||A child of God (Gal. 3:26)||A child of Satan (Jn. 8:44)|
|7.||Eternally saved (Jn. 3:16)||Eternally lost (Jn. 3:36)|
|8.||Certain of heaven (2 Tim. 4:18)||Certain of hell (Rev. 21:8)|
|9.||Awaiting glory (Ti. 2:13)||Awaiting judgment (Heb. 9:27)|
|10.||Gloriously assured (1 Pet. 1:3-5)||Solemnly warned (Rev. 20:15)|
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org