Friday, March 21, 2014
Epaphras Prayer by Kim Wright
I actually wrote the article below approximately 8 years ago when my oldest daughter (now 23) was only 15. At that time, as a result of this experience, I made a notebook in which I changed verses from the book of Colossians into prayers for my family. I have prayed these verses off and on throughout the years, adding children’s names as our family has increased. Unfortunately, just like the “me” of 8 years ago…I tend to go through cycles where I pray these specific scriptures more consistently than at other times, but the ultimate prayer of my heart throughout the years has remained the same, that each of my children would come to the place where they are “standing firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Of all the things I’ve done for my kids, I will say this has been one of the most beneficial. Whenever I dust off the notebook and begin to pray these scriptures for them (and myself and my husband), I always see God move. Will you join me on a journey of prayer for our families as I pull out the notebook once again?
Here’s the story that prompted a busy young mom to pray, “Once upon a time, a long, long time ago…”
Recently, my oldest daughter went on a mission trip to Mexico with her youth group. Although I was thrilled that she was going, I have to admit I was battling my share of worries. Because of the rural location of where they would be working, we were told to expect no communication from our kids for the entirety of the trip. What was a mother to do? The only thing I could do was pray.
One night as I was studying, I came across a verse that grabbed my attention. Colossians 4:12 spoke about a man named Epaphras who was praying for his fellow Christians in Colosse. The verse went on to say "...He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured."
Wrestling in prayer...I could identify with that! That's what I committed to do for my daughter. Every morning and night, and many times in between, I was on my face praying for her and her group. Time that I normally would have spent on the computer or watching a video, I instead spent crying out to God on my daughter's behalf. Finally, the Mexico trip came to a conclusion, and my daughter was home safe and sound. My prayers had been answered! I put up my journal and settled back into the routine of family life.
That verse began to tug at my heart. What did it say again? "...He is always wrestling in prayer for you..." That kind of prayer is difficult! I don't have time for that! Wrestling conjures up images of blood, sweat, tears, energy. It is not easy. You cannot wrestle half-heartedly and expect to win!
Not only that, but Epaphras was always wrestling in prayer. His praying was consistent, constant...the kind that doesn't let up. Now, I have wrestled in prayer for my children many times. But, unfortunately, when the crisis is over, often my wholehearted praying is too.
There is always an opponent in wrestling. In my personal prayer life, Satan often tries to defeat me with complacency, procrastination, and just plain laziness. Why would he fight so hard against my having a constant, devoted prayer life on behalf of my children? Just look at the results of such a prayer life: "...that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured." Wow! That is my greatest aspiration for my kids. Nothing would bring greater joy and peace in my life than to see each of my children "standing firm in all the will of God, mature, and fully assured."
How can this become a reality in my children? I must be willing to spend time, effort, and energy on my knees praying on behalf of my children. Will it be difficult? Sure. Will it be worth it? Definitely! I must become an Epaphras for my children.
(Over the next few weeks, Kim will take us through the book of Colossians, pulling out verses and helping us to personalize them for our children. Maybe you would like to purchase a journal and copy these verses, specifically personalizing them for your individual children, and "wrestling in prayer" for them. Look for these posts every Friday.)