The Epaphras Prayer

Pray for me. Who doesn’t need to speak those words? But with everything else which seemingly is in more urgent need of divine intervention, often we’re reluctant to ask that we be put on “the list.”

And if we were to ask for prayer, for what would we ask to be prayed for? For things to be easier? For relief from our most recent struggles with just doing life in the world? For deliverance from the never-ending, low-lying battle that is waged on a daily basis with the old nature? For some sanity in the increasingly insane culture around us? Or, perhaps, should we ask to be prayed for us the Epaphras prayer?

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)

He was one of them. He was a Colossian. He knew the church. He was part of the family. He was familiar with where they were and with what they were dealing with. And this servant of Christ prayed hard for them. He labored fervently, contending diligently, in his prayers on their behalf. And what did he pray for? That they would stand mature. That they would be fully assured in all the will of God.

And I’m thinking that the chances of standing firm through whatever is encountered are a lot better when you are “fully confident that you are following the whole will of God” (NLT). That the right behavior is gonna come when you have the right belief. So, this morning, I’m chewing on this thought of being “fully assured in the all the will of God.”

Is that even possible? Fully assured? In all the will of God?

Epaphras seemed to think so. And Paul passed on E’s prayer, so I’m guessing he did too. But how does that even happen?

It’s certainly not pray and POOF! . . . a mature believer. But, to be sure, there certainly is some aspect of it that’s supernatural. Some degree, like a big degree, in which the Spirit has a role in conforming us to the likeness of Christ (Rom. 8:29) as God works in us “both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Php. 2:13).

But to be fully assured of the will of God I’m thinking also requires us to assist the Spirit in giving Him something to work with. If He is going to do the work of transforming us through the renewing of our mind so that we can discern the good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Rom. 12:2), then we need to fill our minds with seeds of renewal and transformation.

And, if the will to be revealed concerns both divine doctrine and daily decisions, then it would seem to me that the Spirit would benefit in His maturing work if we were to take in the word of God and the counsel of other believers. That as we give ourselves to the Scriptures and avail ourselves of the saints we are doing our part towards this lofty Epaphras prayer of being fully assured in all the will of God.

How I need to make time to open God’s word. And how I need to make priority going deep with God’s people.

I need to read God’s revealed will for all men and women. The doctrine of the kingdom of heaven informing my decisions as I walk this earth.

But beyond that I also need to talk and listen to others filled by the Spirit as to what God’s will might be for me. The wisdom of others helping discern the ways in which I should walk.

I need the word of God. I need the people of God.  They’re keys, I think, for the Epaphras prayer.

Pray for me.

Because of grace. For His glory.

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