Epaphras is an unusual name. My curiosity is piqued by the short glimpses we see of him in scripture.
just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit ~ Colossians 1:7-8
Epaphras taught the Colossian Christians, ministering to them. But he was also with Paul in prison. This speaks of his character – the willingness to leave his home and minister to Paul. Yet, we also see his great love for those he leaves behind at home:
Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. ~ Colossians 4:12-13
He is “always struggling on your behalf in his prayers.” The NIV says he “is always wrestling in prayer.” It’s a vivid picture and one that reminds us of some important truths.
Epaphras prayed for others’ souls – that they’d “stand mature and fully assured in the will of God.” He knew well that we are each of us susceptible to the siren call of the world. Peter warns us that the devil “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
We live in a battlefield. Souls are at stake. Eternity hangs in the balance. And none of us are immune to temptation. Epaphras could not be in two places at once. He could not teach the Christians in Colossae, nor could he visit them, counsel them, or even send a text message!
Instead, he clung to a higher power – lifting them in prayer to the God who supplies strength, who lifts up weary hands, and reassures anxious hearts.
Perhaps today, we might do the same, praying earnestly for the souls of our brothers and sisters both near and far.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Epaphras was a heroic prayer warrior. I have blogged about him twice in the last ten years, https://callforfireseminar.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/joining-the-struggle-by-praying-to-god/ and https://callforfireseminar.wordpress.com/2020/05/30/for-whom-do-you-wrestle-in-prayer/. He deserves more attention as a model for ministry. Thank you for your post.