12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.
How do we pray? Is it passive? Is it short? Is it scripted? Is it easy? Is it poetic? Is it sincere? How we pray can reveal a lot about how we feel about what we are praying about. Some of the most common prayers we say throughout the day are the prayers before a meal. Oftentimes these prayers are similar, if not identical, to the last pre-meal prayer we said. But perhaps that’s okay given the circumstance. A prayer before a meal is a tradition, a ritual almost. We thank God for the food before we eat it, and mention whatever else is pressing at the moment. Because this prayer is often only about blessing food, it often isn’t sincere or difficult to get through. I don’t mean to say that we aren’t really thankful for the food God has provided. Only that this prayer is not the same as others might be.
Another example is praying over someone as a church. When someone is suffering from an illness and their life hangs in the balance, oftentimes churches will gather together for a special time of prayer over that person. This prayer is usually full of tears, heartache, sincerity, poetic speech, and even physical touch to those around you. This prayer is so much different than a pre-meal prayer because of the subject of the prayer. How we pray reveals how we feel about what we are praying about. If our prayer over the sick brother or sister is similar to our prayer over a meal, it might reveal that we care little about this person’s situation or even that we don’t really think God can do much about it.
In Colossians Paul mentions to the church the prayers of Epaphras for the their church. He describes Epaphras as wrestling in prayer for them. When I hear this description of wrestling, I think of a physical struggle, a huge strain on your body and mind. I think of a back and forth between two people and a deep desire to come out victorious. I think of a will that refuses to stop until they feel as though they’ve done all they can do.
When I read this, I can’t help but see in this wording how Epaphras feels about the church in Colossae. His incredible, sincere wrestling in prayer reveals how he feels about this church and their success in faithfulness. Let’s consider our own prayers and see if we can reveal to ourselves how we feel about what we are praying for.