Summary: There are times that much wrestling is required in prayer. Epaphras was an excellent example of this.
Colossians 4:12-13 KJV Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.  For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.
I. INTRODUCTION -- PRAYER IS HARD WORK
-God gives us authority in prayer but there are many necessities of life that we allow to hinder what we do with prayer.
• Laziness hinders prayer.
• Unspiritual attitudes hinder prayer.
• Carnal lifestyles hinder prayer.
• Spiritual warfare hinders prayer.
-But in the grand scheme of things, we must pray to be effective in the Kingdom of God.
• Because spiritual warfare is unrelenting, we must pray.
• Because the days are evil, we must pray.
• Because revival demands it, we must pray.
• Because our families are protected by it, we must pray.
• Because spiritual authority comes through it, we must pray.
• Because it is a powerful weapon, we must pray.
-Prayer is hard work! We cannot simply decide to pray. . . . we have to pray! We must labor in our praying.
Andrew Murray -- The Ministry of Intercession -- We have far too little conception of the place of that intercession, as distinguished from prayer for ourselves, ought to have in the Church and in Christian life. In intercession our king upon the throne finds His highest glory too. Through it He continues His saving work and can do nothing without it. Through it alone we can do our work, and nothing avails without it. . . where. . . we work more than we pray, the presence and the power of God are not seen in our work as we wish.
Arthur Mathews -- Born For Battle -- Prayer was never meant to be incidental to the work of God. It is the work of God. . . in all work for God, prayer is the working power of all that God could do through His people.
-A great need of our world is to prevail in prayer!
-Note in Acts 6:4. . .
Acts 6:4 KJV But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
-Then notice the results of their efforts in prayer. . .
Acts 6:7 KJV And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
-This was Epaphas. . . He was always wrestling in prayer for his congregation.
-We are introduced to a man in Colossians that is frankly very obscure in the New Testament writings. In fact he is mentioned only three times. Twice in Colossians and once in Philemon. His name never enters the account of the Acts of the Apostles.
-His character was minor league. . . . His role was major league. He was a man who was willing to forgo the identity factor and was willing to be lost in the task of praying for the church. He was willing to be forgotten for the cause of the Cross. Little known in the earth but well known in Heaven.
-He spent his hours and his days prevailing in prayer. He was a comrade of Paul’s. He was an Ephesian convert but his native land was Colosse. So when the call of heightened ministry came to him, he became the pastor of the church there.
-He was a praying pastor and because of his concern for the church at Colosse he spent much time wrestling in prayer.
-What little in Scripture is said of this man is potent and powerful.
• One of you.
• A servant of Christ.
• Always labouring fervently in prayer for you.
• He has great zeal for you.
• He has great zeal for the churches in Laodecia and Hierapolis.
A. A Servant
-There is a noble title given to Epaphras. . . A servant of Christ. He was a bond-slave of the Kingdom.
-Servants have no rights and they have no choices in the direction of their life. One might ask what a servant looks like.
-There are no mistaken thoughts when one comes into the presence of a true servant of the Lord.
• They will look like a humble Joshua or Elisha who served their mentors.
• They will bear the fragrance of the myrrh, aloes, and frankincense that has come with much suffering.
• They will bear the aroma of the incense that comes from the altars of prayer.
• They will have scars from the pruning processes of life that have made them more productive.
• They will have to pour out the pure olive oil that came from the crushing of the will.