Laboring Earnestly in Prayer: Colossians 4:12-13
“12) Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. 13) For I bear him witness that he has a deep concern for you and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis.” Colossians‬ ‭4:12-13‬ ‭
The longer I am in ministry, the more dependent I am upon prayer warriors. We discover from these two verses that Epaphras was a prayer warrior. He labored earnestly in prayer over the whole geographic area of Colossae, Laodicea and Hieropolis.
The phrase “labor earnestly” comes from a Greek word picturing how athletes would compete in the early Olympic games. They would wrestle to win. Epaphras is testimony to the fact that Paul trained and equipped prayer warriors who understood that winning happens only by spending time in Gods presence in earnest prayer.
Nothing of eternal significance happens without prayer. Jesus would often slip away to pray. (Matthew 14:23) Jesus told His disciples to wait until they were clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:49) 120 believer devoted themselves to prayer for forty days and ushered in the day of Pentecost. (See Acts 1:14-15) The early church made prayer a daily priority. (Acts 1:42-43) The initial persecuted believers prayed for boldness and unction from on high until the ground was shaken. (Acts 4:23-31) The Apostles corrected squeezing God out of their busy schedules by returning to a focus on prayer and the ministry of the Word. (Acts 6:4) Peter faced deadly calamity through prayer. (Dorcus Acts 9:40) Peter was supernaturally released from prison through prayer. (Acts 12:4-10) The leadership at the church in Antioch ministered to the Lord with prayer and fasting. (Acts 13:2-4) The first thing Paul and Silas did in Philippi was seek out a prayer meeting. (Acts 16:13) After being beaten and thrown in prison, at midnight Paul and Silas turned to prayer and praise until the place was shaken. (Acts 16:25-30) Prayer was not optional in the early church.
The secret to power, unction, anointing, and wonders in the early church was their focus on seeking God in prayer. I often hear Christians lament that God doesn’t work in mighty ways in the Western Church today. And then they ask; “Why?” The answer is simple. For the most part the western church is prayerless. We have not because we ask not or we ask with selfish motives.(James 4:1-4)
The Western Church is program driven and not prayer driven. Our emphasis is on tithes while the early church was moved to tears. The early church focused on seeking God through prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit as their primary method of ministry. The modern church focuses on committee meetings, board meetings and clever mission statements.
My experience with the persecuted church and Christians in many 3rd world countries today is that they resemble the early church in the way they earnestly seek God in prayer. I have been put to utter shame by my weak prayer life compared to many Christians around the world.
Epaphras is a reminder that the kingdom of God is fueled by earnest prayer. Satan trembles when he sees even the weakest Christian drop to their knees in earnest prayer. Why? Because they just entered the throne room of God! (Hebrews 4:14-6) It is a sure sign that Satan’s plans are about to be shaken.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global