Shepherds Conference 2024 General Session 6

March 7, 11:00 a.m. 
Speaker: H.B. Charles
Topic: Truth Triumphs Through Believing Prayer 
Passage: Colossians 4:12–13


Message Summary: 

Paul had many friends in the faith who partnered with him to proclaim the gospel, defend the truth, and build up the church. Paul mentions by name several of his partners in ministry, and in this passage, he mentions Epaphras.

Epaphras was a man of prayer. He is commended for his intensive devotion to believing prayer. He exemplified and embodied the call to intercessory prayer.

Truth triumphs through proclamation. But here we’re reminded that truth triumphs through prayer because we can’t do the Lord’s work in our own strength.

I want us to consider Epaphras's example of prayer and what it teaches us about the triumph of truth through believing prayer.


1. The Servanthood of Epaphras 

Paul affirms Epaphras’s devotion to the church and to Christ (4:12). Epaphras demonstrates willing submission in total and joyful obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Epaphras's commitment to Christ expresses itself in a commitment to His church, which expresses itself in a commitment to prayer. We cannot have a high view of Christ and a low view of the church at the same time. 

A high view of the church will be reflected not merely in our preaching, but in our prayers. We should not just preach as faithful servants of Christ, we should pray as faithful servants of Christ. 


2. The Struggle of Epaphras  

Epaphras’s struggle gives us a model for the manner of pastoral intercession and the motive of pastoral intercession.

The Manner of Pastoral Intercession  

ContinuallyEpaphras is always praying. There are many reasons for us to be concerned about what is going on in the church today, and about what is going on in the world today, but we must not be anxious about those things. The way to be anxious about nothing is to be prayerful about everything.

FerventlyThese men were stressing, straining, and struggling in prayer on behalf of the people to whom they had been called. Prayer shouldn’t be this take-it-or-leave-it thing. Prayer shouldn’t be approached as some burden or duty. Prayer should be approached as a wonderful privilege. And we should labor in it for the sake of truth because prayer evidences our dependence on God. 

SelflesslyEpaphras struggles for others in his prayers, not just himself. He concentrates his prayers on the church rather than himself.

The Motive of Intercessory Prayer: 

The consuming concern of Epaphras’s prayer is not material, financial, or circumstantial. He prays for spiritual priorities:

StabilityHe prays that they would stand firm amid all of the error, confusion, and false truth that tried to lead them astray in their belief and behavior. 

MaturityAuthentic Christians are growing Christians. We should constantly be praying that our people would mature in the faith, in godliness, and in Christlikeness.

CertaintyHe prays that they would be fully assured, fully persuaded. Our people need to know what they believe, and they need to know why they believe what they believe. We should preach to that end and we should pray to that end.


3. The Sacrifice of Epaphras 

Epaphras suffered for the sake of the church. He toiled to the point of pain. There’s a lot to criticize in our churches, there’s a lot to criticize in the culture around our church. But are you praying as much as you are criticizing? It’s cheap work to criticize. It’s hard work to pray.


If you really believe that God still hears and answers prayer, then labor hard in believing prayer for your local church and for the global church. With confidence that truth triumphs, may we preach courageously and pray continually.