“Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”
Colossians 4:12 NKJV
Epaphras is a hero to me. I don’t know about you, but prayer is hard for me. You’d think it should come naturally, but it doesn’t . So it impresses me even more that Epaphras had the discipline to always take time to pray for people.
But I also love the fact that he prayed for peoples’ spiritual growth. We usually pray for peoples’ needs — health and financial and relational — but we don’t spend nearly as much time praying for their spiritual growth. We don’t pray that God would change our character to be more like him. I think one of the reasons is that we don’t know what to pray about.
Fortunately the Bible is filled with verses about how to pray for somebody to grow spiritually.
“May you be able to feel and understand … how long, how wide, how deep, and how high [God’s] love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves” (Ephesians 3:19a TLB). Who do you know that may be struggling and needs God’s love in their life right now? Bring them to mind and say, “God, let them know today how much you really love them.”
“I pray… that you will always be eager to do right” (Hebrews 13:21 CEV). Parents, wouldn’t you like to pray that for your kids, that they not only do what is right but that they are eager to do the right thing? Pray for them right now: “God, give them integrity."
“I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in him” (Romans 15:13a NCV). Who doesn’t need more hope or joy or peace in their lives? Pray, “God, I know somebody who needs some hope. Help them to trust in you during this difficult time.”
“I pray that the glorious Father … would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Ephesians 1:17a GW). Who do you know that’s facing a decision? Ask God to give them his wisdom.
“I pray the Lord will guide you to be as loving as God and as patient as Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:5 CEV). Has anyone got that one down yet? We’re just not there yet. But we can pray for each other, that we will grow the rest of our lives to get closer to that. Pray that verse for someone.
“I pray … he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit” (Ephesians 3:16a NIV). Who do you know that feels overwhelmed by life or like they’re having to do everything on their own power? Pray this for them. Say, “God, help them to know they’re not alone today. Give them strength and power."