Hurricane Florence has had us guessing over the past few days if she’ll be hitting us on the south eastern coast of Virginia. Although this four-day break from work was a surprise, I have to admit I’ve completely wasted the first two days by binging Netflix. I got convicted last night during our weekly small group/bible study about how I’ve used my time. We’ve been studying Colossians this summer, and concluded our study with reflecting about practical ways we’ve grown through this summer’s study. The following verse stood out to me:
“Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.”
At first I took the word “struggling” to mean a challenge, as in I struggle in the discipline of prayer because I have many variables that take up my time. My definition isn’t completely off the mark, but using an online tool to find the Greek origin of this word, I learned the intended meaning of struggle is to fight in a contest. Of course, I take this to mean spiritual battle rather than my former understanding, which indicates a battle against myself.
I decided after two days of wasting my time, today I would be productive for God in spiritual battle by praying through our church’s weekly prayer requests. As part of the prayer team, I get a weekly list that contains multiple prayers, and this week’s list had prayers for over sixty (60!!!) individuals. After initially receiving the emailed list, the enemy whispered lies, saying it’s too much for me to pray about and that I don’t have the time to pray for all of these. However, I asked God to help me focus and began praying. In his epistle, James explained,
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
I would not call myself righteous, but as someone saved by grace through faith in Jesus, it is Jesus’s righteousness that covers me. Therefore, God uses my prayers when I ask in Jesus’s name.
James was right about the power of prayer. I was only on the second of sixty-four requests when the Holy Spirit began working in me. As I prayed for someone I don’t know concerning their vague request, I began to struggle. Like Paul described Epaphras struggling, as in a fight of the soul, I felt the strain of this woman’s situation and empathetically began to cry.
Even as I type this up, I hear the enemy pulling at my heart, telling me how this isn’t something worth writing or sharing. Regardless, I feel compelled to share because I imagine someone reading this may be like me and wrestle with the discipline of prayer. I want to encourage you, brothers and sisters, that even if you don’t feel like your prayers are heard or you aren’t in the mood to pray, do it anyway. Please stop being guided by your feelings and be guided by God’s word. He repeatedly commands us to pray for others, so what’s your excuse?