In his letter to the Colossians the apostle Paul calls out a member of their church:
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.Colossians 4:12 ESV
Epaphras is one of them. He is from the city of Colossae and was an active member of that church, though he was with Paul when Paul wrote this letter. Paul says that Epaphras was always struggling on their behalf in his prayers. The word he uses for “struggle” was generally used of an athletic competition, especially for wrestling. It implied a fight or a grueling and strenuous effort, an effort that requires we grit our teeth and sweat and strain—something we don’t really associate with prayer!
As Paul makes clear in Ephesians 6:10-20, prayer is spiritual warfare. It makes sense for Paul to use a word for fighting and combat to describe prayer! Prayer is a battle—not against God but against those evil forces who stand against us. This is why Epaphras wrestled in prayer for the Colossians: “that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.” The fight and the wrestling and the combat against the evil forces of darkness had this aim: that the members of Epaphras’ church would be able to stand mature in Christ and would be fully assured in all the will of God.
Today, let’s be like Epaphras. Let’s pray for one another. Pray for all those who call New City home. Pray for the members of your City Group. Pray for their safety and health. Pray for victory over sin. Pray for those who are on Day 2,427 of being stuck at home. Pray for those who have lost jobs or have reduced income or are looking for work. Pray for those who are feeling especially isolated and alone. Pray that each one of us will stand fully mature in Christ. Let’s wrestle in prayer for each other.