Sometimes I am challenged by the most random verses in Scripture. I, like lots of people, read the Bible and easily see the “big rocks” if you will, while often missing great truth in small places. The genealogies for instance. Sometimes I get to those and just skim over them thinking, “Ya, ya, ya. I get it. So and so begat so and so. I don’t want to read about all the begetting going on.” But if you just skip over the genealogies you end up missing some cool stuff. Like Rahab the prostitute is part of the lineage of Jesus, signifying that God can use anyone in His plan. Solomon, who was born to David and Bathsheba after their adulterous affair, signifying that God can redeem anything!
Those are just two of hundreds of little nuggets in the Bible that if we aren’t careful, we’ll just skip on by and not catch the significance of it. I believe that all of the Bible is included for a reason. That something can be gained from every verse in Scripture. Sure, some of it is harder to see and find than others, but all the Bible can speak into our lives some how and in some way.
Recently, I was reading through Colossians for my quiet time when I was challenged by a man named Epaphras. Ya, I didn’t know who he was either. There were no Sunday School flannel graph lessons around him, but the Apostle Paul shares a powerful and inspiring truth about his life. These verses are found in Paul’s closing remarks in his letter to the Christians in Colosse. This again is one of those places where it’s easy to just skip over. “Tell so and so hello for me. Pass on my greetings to them. Greet each other with a holy kiss.” (I gotta admit, that last one is weird. We aren’t going to start that at Element)
Colossians 4:12-13 says Epaphras, a member of your own fellowship and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings. He always prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God. I can assure you that he prays hard for you and also for the believers in Laodicea and Hierapolis.
Wow! He always prays earnestly for you. I can assure you that he prays hard for you. But notice what he prays hard for. He doesn’t pray for circumstances to be changed he prays for their spirits to be strengthened. That they would be “strong and perfect, following the whole will of God.”
What group of people could Paul go to today and say, “Jeff sends you his greetings. He always prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God. I can assure you that he prays hard for you!” What group of people could Paul go to and say that about you?
I wonder how much of our prayers are focused solely on the circumstances of the people who are closest to us instead of the souls of those who might be furthest from us? What would my prayer life be known for? Could someone assure that I prayed earnestly for another group of people?
Epaphras is not a well known Bible character but maybe he should be. I want to have the prayer life of Epaphras. Do you?