I love the word of God. I've been reading it daily for 10 years now and I am always amazed at how much God continues to speak to me when I listen. It never seems to fail that I can read something over and over again and yet learn new things. Something new will pop off the page at me as though God is speaking directly to me. In fact, through the gift of the Holy Spirit inside of me, He is.
Yesterday was another one of those days. I've been reading through the new testament over the last month and am in Colossians. I ran across this verse in 4: 12 -"Epaphras, who is one of you, a slave of Christ Jesus, greets you. He is always contending for you in his prayers, so that you can stand mature and fully assured in everything God wills." This is an obscure verse about a mostly unknown guy. I found out from my Bible dictionary that Epaphras was a friend of Paul's who helped evangelize cities and found churches. It was his news about the churches of the Lycus valley that moved Paul to write the letter to the Colossians.
What spoke to me about this man is that he was a man of prayer. Mentioned in other scriptures as a slave of Christ and fellow prisoner he obviously devoted his life to the cause of advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ. He prayed for the church of Colossae. I think the fact that I've just finished reading a couple good parenting books and have been increasing the frevency of my prayers for my kids that this man stuck out to me. I am so very fortunate to have a Epaphras in my life and in the lives of my children. My mother (and father for that matter) pray daily for my family. They, like Epaphras, pray that we would mature and be assured of God's will. I can't thanks them enough. That is may prayer for my children as they grow. I desire for them to know God and experience Him in a personal and life changing way. I desire so much more for them than I can sometimes even attempt to pray so I am grateful that I am not the only person praying for them.
I want to be an Epaphras for my children and even pray for the future generations that are to come in our family. I believe everyone needs people in their lives to contend in prayer for them. We can all learn to pray more fervently and passionately because we pray to a God who really cares. I must admit I often pray selfish prayers that focus only on myself or I want to pray for so many things that I get overwhelmed at where to start or what to pray for. Epaphras prayed I am sure for many people but most importantly for those he loved and knew. Chances are that if you read this blog that I know you well or am on a journey to knowing you well. I am letting you know that I want to be an Epaphras to you, I want to contend in prayer for you and your family that you would stand mature and fully assured in everything God wills. I hope you have other Epaphras' in your life and I ask you to ponder if God is calling you to be an Epaphras to someone else in you life right now. Please feel free to let me know if you have any specific requests that I can lay before the throne of our very great God. Grace and peace be with you.