I’m thinking so much about prayer. I think about it day and night. I long to become a better pray-er. I long to pray more. I long to call others to prayer. Why? Because I believe in prayer. Or perhaps, even better stated, I believe in the One to whom I pray and I believe He responds to prayer.
One of my heroes in the Bible in the area of prayer is Epaphras. Paul tells about this man who was so committed to praying for his friends that Paul says, “He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” (Colossians 4:12) That word picture of Epaphras “wrestling in prayer” just grips me, because it implies to me that prayer isn’t always easy (and all God’s children said, “Amen!”)
In fact, that’s often how I feel when I sit down or kneel down to pray. I often start out writing, “Lord, I don’t feel like doing this….I don’t want to pray…I’m not in the mood to pray…but if you’ll help me, I’ll wrestle through these feelings and distractions until I’m sensing that I’m praying what you want me to pray.” I know what it means to wrestle in prayer.
Yes, when it comes to prayer, Epaphras is one of my Biblical heroes; a man named James Fraser is one of my modern-day heroes. He was a missionary to China in the early 20th century. He realized that the needs around him were so overwhelming that he desperately needed God to work in amazing ways. He once wrote, “I used to think that prayer should have the first place and teaching the second. I now feel it would be truer to give prayer the first, second and third places and teaching the fourth.” He reminds me of Epaphras.
I’m reminded through Epaphras’ and Fraser’s life that I, too, need to make prayer an even greater priority than I ever have before. When the needs around me are so great and so overwhelming, my tendency is to work harder, counsel more and talk more. But, like Fraser, I long to see a mighty moving of the Spirit of God so powerfully that we all realize that no human being could do it…only God could.
And so, I’m trying to become more like my heroes, Epaphras and Fraser. I have so far to go, but I’m aiming that way. Want to join me?