Summary: God wants His people to be faithful in their prayer life.
COL.1:7; 4:12 "THE NEED FOR FAITHFULNESS IN PRAYER"
* Some of God’s choicest servants are unknown to us. * There are many unsung heroes of
the faith. * Tonight I want us to look at the example of such a man. * His name? Epaphras
* As we think about the need for faithfulness, I hope that we’ll be challenged by his example.
* Look with me again at 4:12. * There are several things we learn here:
(1) WE LEARN OF THE FOUNDATION OF HIS PRAYING
* Obviously, Epaphras was a faithful man of prayer!
* But how could Epaphras know that his prayers would be heard and answered?
* The answer to that question is found in Paul’s description of him.
A) Notice, Paul identifies him as "a servant of Christ" in v.12
* Such an identification on the surface may not seem that significant, but it truly provides us with
two important pieces of information about this man. * For example, it teaches us that:
B) ONE: He had been saved! * No one is a servant of Christ unless they are first saved!
* Being saved, being a child of God is foundational to having a successful prayer life!
* John 9:31 "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper ..."
* In 1 Pt.3:12 "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto ..."
* What a blessing to know that our Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers!
* Notice also that Epaphras’ identification as a servant of Christ teaches us that .......
C) TWO: He had become submissive! * To be a servant, one must have a master!
* He was a willing servant of Jesus Christ! * To be such, one must submit & obey his master!
* This is the second foundational plank of an effective prayer life. * A submissive life!
D) Jesus said in John 15:7 "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask ......."
* David taught us in Ps.66:18 "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not ......."
* That means, our resistance & disobedience to the Lord will shut off our prayer line to God!
E) So those two factors, his salvation and his submission, form the only foundation upon which
we can build an effective prayer life!
(2) WE LEARN THE FREQUENCY OF HIS PRAYING
* Paul says that Epaphras was "always laboring" in prayer for the Colossian believers!
* Prayer was a regular experience for him! * So should it be with every believer!
A) Unfortunately, many are unfaithful in this area of their Christian walk!
* May I suggest that unfaithfulness in this area is a symptom of other spiritual problems!
* It may indicate "a lack of confidence." * We will not pray if we doubt, either the promises of
God or the power of God!
B) It may indicate "a lack of conviction." * Some fail to understand how important and vital
regular prayer is to our walk with Jesus! * We need convictions about prayer!
* In 1 Thes.5:17 "Pray without ceasing." * Example - keep buzzing the nurse
C) We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but Jesus wants it to be our first line of defense.!
* We pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but Jesus wants us to pray before we do
anything at all! * We need convictions about our prayer life!
D) It may be a "lack of concern." * Sometimes we fail to pray because we have allowed
ourselves to become indifferent to our spiritual growth, the spiritual needs of the people,
* and what God plans for us to do! * We ought to be praying always! Luke 18:1 "That men ..."
* Then I want you to see:
(3) THE FERVENCY OF HIS PRAYING
* The Greek term for "laboring fervently" means to wrestle, struggle, contend.
* It refers to giving one’s full energy to something!
A) That is how we are to pray as well! Remember that James 5:16 says that "the effectual ......."
* Fervency is a must for two reasons:
B) ONE: Because of the cost involved. * Prayer is costly. * It demands labor and time!
* TWO: Because of the conflict involved. * We are in a spiritual battle!
* Because of that fact, we must be faithful to pray!
(4) FINALLY, LET ME UNDERLINE THE FOCUS OF HIS PRAYING
* Look at the last part of v.12! * His praying was not focused on selfish desires!
* His focus was on the spiritual development of the Colossian believers!
A) If we are gonna be faithful in prayer, we must keep the right focus!