We seldom use the word “earnestly”, do we? You might think of other words like soberly or fervently when you hear it. It has a very strong word meaning – “determined or passionate, not trivial or petty.” It infers that you are very serious about the subject or concern that you have and that you will not easily forget it or change your mind. For example you might say, “I am earnestly considering a change in my career.” There is a purposeful and solemn aspect to this idea. Do you think this is part of what Jesus meant when He invited us to “keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking”? (Matthew 7:7)
In his letter to “the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ” in the city of Colossae, Paul tells them that Epaphras, the one who first brought them the Good News of Jesus, “prays earnestly and hard for them – Colossians 4: 12 –NLT. Another translation indicates that he is always “wrestling in prayer on their behalf” – NIV. The Voice says that “he speaks passionately and sincerely to the Lord about you and your spiritual journey.” How deeply Paul and his co-workers cared for those who had come to know Christ. While they faithfully encouraged them in person and by letter, they both knew that is was only the Holy Spirit that could and would change their minds and their attitudes from their old ways of life to the new realities that they had “in Christ”. So they prayed intentionally and regularly.
When children come to their parents with requests, they don’t stop to think about anything else but what they want. Then they figure out every angle in order to convince them that it is a good idea and certainly possible. Our Heavenly Father has invited us to do the same thing. “While it sounds like a contradiction, God tells us to ask boldly and surrender completely. He wants us to lose all confidence in ourselves and have complete confidence in Him Who is waiting to give us good gifts” – Paul Miller, A Praying Life.