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Prayer in Ministry

The United States Olympic committee ranked wrestling as the fifth most difficult sport out of sixty. Wrestling requires a unique combination of speed, strength, endurance, technique, confidence, and drive. Dan Gable, an Olympic gold medalist in the sport, was quoted as saying, “Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.”

In today’s reading Paul continues to send greetings to the church at Colossae. Beginning in verse 12, he focuses on greetings from his Gentile coworkers. Epaphras founded the church in Colossae and served in a pastoral role there. Paul calls him a “servant of Christ Jesus,” a term he reserves elsewhere for himself and Timothy. Even though Epaphras was absent from Colossae, he was still hard at work for the church there. Paul lets the church know that he is “always wrestling in prayer for you” (v. 12).

Prayer also requires a great deal of effort, strength, and endurance. Epaphras was making every effort on behalf of his church through perseverance in prayer. Specifically, he prayed that the church would maintain its belief in the gospel and grow to maturity (v. 12). One can easily imagine the anguish Epaphras had over his church as it struggled with false teaching. His continued prayer was for the church to “stand firm” in that difficult season (v. 12).

Paul mentions greetings from Luke and Demas too. Luke is known to us as the author of the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts and was a regular traveling companion of Paul. In all his writings, Luke emphasized the importance of prayer (see Luke 11:2–8; 18:1–18; Acts 8:15–17). Perhaps, when writing about prayer, Luke had an example of Epaphras in mind. 

Apply the Word

Do you find it hard to stay focused while praying? Paul compares prayer to wrestling. It is a struggle and a battle, both with ourselves and the evil one. Be encouraged today that God hears your prayer and that your labor is not in vain. Like the persistent widow of Luke 18, we should “always pray and not give up” (v. 1).

BY Ryan Cook

Dr. Ryan Cook has taught at Moody Bible Institute since 2012. He earned his bachelor of arts in Bible and Theology from Moody and his master of arts in Old Testament from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He has worked in Christian education and served as a pastor in Michigan for seven years. During his time as a professor at Moody, he earned his doctorate from Asbury Theological Seminary. He now lives with his wife, Ashley, and their three children in the Chicagoland area.

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