Epaphras’ understanding of the gospel motivates him to a life of service. One of the significant ways he serves is through prayer. Paul writes Epaphras “wrestles” in prayer for the Colossian believers. He does not say a quick “Oh and I pray for the church in Colossae” prayer. He’s intentional in his prayer.
One thing that jumps out about Epaphras’ prayer for the Colossians is that, in the face of significant challenges, he prays for an internal change in the Jesus community. He wants them to be able to “stand firm” in the face of the challenge. He doesn’t simply pray the challenge will go away. He prays the people will grow in their faith through the challenge. He focuses on internal growth and not just external situations.
Sometimes when we’re in difficult or uncomfortable situations, our prayer is for God to change our circumstances. Epaphras’ prayer helps us see that we also need to be asking God to grow us through our circumstances. Instead of asking God to change a combative spouse, we should also be praying for God to help us develop patience. Instead of asking God to change a difficult co-worker, we need to ask God to help us desire to be kind in the midst of the difficulty. In a time of financial hardship, in addition to praying for relief, we should pray for stronger trust in God.
Today, identify an internal change to pray for instead of an external change. Then go one step further. Set a recurring calendar reminder (at a convenient prayer time) on your smartphone to remind you to pray for that internal change the next five days.