Who prays for you? How would you answer that question? I don’t mean the “run of the mill”, standardized type of praying, I mean the really gut wrenching, intense praying. Do you actually know who prays those kinds of prayers for you?
There is a fascinating reference to a man by the name of Epaphras, in the book of Colossians, who was named by the apostle Paul as such a praying person. Paul himself had never visited the city of Colossae but his friend and colleague was from there. Quite likely, he was the church planter in three cities: Colossae, Hieropolis and Laodicea.
Colossians 4:12 says this about him. “Epaphras, who is from you, greets you, always struggling on behalf of you with prayers, that you might stand complete or mature and fully accomplishing in everything the will of God.”
The word for struggle is not a weak word. It’s means to completely devote oneself to a task, the same way an athlete strives in a contest. What task does Epaphras devote himself to? Prayer, not for himself but for others. But what does he pray?
- They would be complete or mature. Or as Ephesians puts it, “Not tossed about by every wind of doctrine.” Firm in their faith. Not being babes in Christ but growing up into Him who is the head.
- They would fully accomplish, in everything, the will of God. Not a few things but in everything.
Epaphras’ prayer for these people was probably not obvious to the people of these churches. It seldom is. The prayer closet, where much of the struggle on behalf of others takes place, is seldom seen as glamorous. Maybe that’s why so few are drawn to it. Yet the most effective work, the work that really counts, is often won first in the prayer closet.
We’d never hear of Epaphras unless the apostle made mention of him. That’s true of most intercessors. Unless someone draws attention to their work, they stay silent because, as with Epaphras, the focus is not on themselves but others.
Maybe that is why there really is no answer to the question, “Who prays for you?” You may never know the name of that person, the one who constantly and consistently brings you before the throne of grace. But you will know the impact of such prayers, for your life will be more mature and consistent with doing the will of God.
“Epaphras greets you.” I wonder how many, who passed through the portals of death, into that city not made with human hands, whose maker and builder is God Himself, will greet the one who labored on their behalf. I wonder, just a thought, how many will greet you and me, thanking us for striving in prayer for them.