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Read Introduction to Colossians


“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.”


“always laboring fervently for you in prayers”

Epaphras was a pastor who prayed for fellow believers in Colosse. While in captivity in Rome, he agonized in prayer for his church back in Colosse. We can translate “laboring” as “wrestling.” He wrestled in prayer with God for the Colossians (cf. Jacob in Gen. 32). “Laboring” is from the Greek word to agonize. It was an athletic term involving physical struggle. The idea is to exert the last ounce of strength to win the race. Agony comes at the end of the race, where strength is spent.

Paul uses this term of himself in Colossians 1:29; 2:1. Jesus also was in “agony” in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:44). The great struggle in prayer is a great need of the church today. We need to agonize in prayer more than to organize programs.

Epaphras kept his congregation in prayer. He could not hop on Alexander Gram Bell to find out how they were doing. However, he did have a direct line to God. His direct line was prayer. He prayed with a headache; he prayed when he was tired; he prayed when he was sick; he prayed while chained to guards. He prayed no matter how tired, sick, or exhausted he might be. It is the effectual, fervent prayer that avails with God (James 5:16,17).

Although Epaphras was the pastor of the church at Colosse, he was in jail at this point. He had a new ministry, the ministry of intercessory prayer. He served God in prison by praying for the Colossian church.


Every Christian has recourse to fervent prayer.


Epaphras labored in prayer that people in his congregation might stand firm and not fall victim to false teaching.

When we are separated from our loved ones who need spiritual help, the one thing we can do for them is to pray. We can pray that God will introduce friends, circumstances, blessings, and even bane into their lives. God can create a positive volition toward Himself by sovereignly managing the events of their lives.

Most of us do not know anything about agonizing in prayer. Generally, we do not know how to agonize in prayer, except when we face the death of a child. Then we learn how to agonize in prayer very quickly.