Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Devote … what does it mean to devote oneself to something? According to Merriam-Webster the word means to commit by a solemn act or to give over or direct to a cause, enterprise, or activity. Translation it means a life surrendered (given over) and committed (to carry into action deliberately) to prayer. It’s not happenstance it’s intentional!
Wow, lately my prayer life’s anything but intentional. Then there’s the phrase, “being watchful and thankful”. I have read these passages many, many times, but today, watchful is a neon sign. Back to Merriam- Webster: “not able or accustomed to sleep or rest. Causing sleeplessness and carefully observant or attentive.” When was the last time your prayer life kept you awake at night? For me…. most likely never; maybe once; ooh… that stings!
Many, in my circle of influence, see me as having a strong prayer life. I always say, “If I’m the standard of a great prayer life, our world, our church, etc. is in a world of hurt”. Yet, they continue to hold me up as prayer warrior. Well my friends, when using God’s Word as the bench mark, Colossians 4:2 would say I’m a sad testimony. 😦 Prayer has become something I do on the fly-by or for a few minutes in the morning rather than intentional, concentrated effort. One would be hard pressed to find any resemblance to this passage, in my day-to-day actions. Yet, I expect God to answer. I expect Him to move mountains on my behalf and on those for whom I pray. I expect God to hear my requests and act upon them in a timely manner.
What about thankfulness? If God looked into my prayer journal He might think I was displeased with all He has provided and given. And as for those prayers He answered… well He might find a cursory thank-you. My prayer journal is sparse in gratitude and thankfulness. Oh, there’s a thank you here and a thank you there. But God can read the heart behind those words and there-in lies the rub. I am not very grateful in attitude only in deed. Ouch! Ouch!
How can one become devoted, watchful and thankful? First comes surrender; the willingness to surrender our day to His. To be willing to put aside our want too’s for His desires. Second, we need to take the action and gift of prayer seriously. Yes, it is a gift; a very precious gift. When we pray and intercede on behalf of others and for God’s desires we become partners in God’s actions and future happenings. Thirdly we must be willing to give up sleep; we need to be watchful in prayer. Are we willing to give up a little sleep; to have God wake us in the wee hours of the morning to pray? I’m reminded of the passage where our Lord Jesus asked his very close friends (the disciples) to pray for him in the garden. They kept falling asleep at a most critical time for Jesus. (Matthew 26:36-46). My heart says, “May it never be so”, and my life, already says, “It is so”. Lastly we need to develop a genuine heart of gratitude and thankfulness. A heart which notices all the little things God provides and does in our lives. A heart which takes nothing for granted and receives everything with an awareness of where and by whom it came.
We will not be able to develop a strong prayer-life without discipline and commitment. We need to put those feet on the floor when all we want to do is sleep. We need to set a time in our day which allows for devoted, watchfulness, thankful filled prayer. We find time for things we really want to do… God desires we find time for Him and for prayer! I am not strong in the area of discipline. The heart is willing but my flesh wins more times than I care to divulge. Not this year. 2014 is the year I learn to become a “Colossians Prayer Warrior”; a person devoted to prayer, always watchful and forever thankful. How about you… will this be the year you become a “Colossian’s Prayer Warrior”?
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” Colossians 4:2
Until next time,