"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Colossians 4:2
I once met a young man who became so infatuated with a girl, that it changed his behavior. All of his energy and attention was focused on this girl. He made every effort to spend all of his free moments with her. He neglected other friendships and responsibilities in his pursuit of this girl. He was never too busy or too tired to make time for her. He always looked forward to getting another chance to see her with great anticipation. He was completely satisfied just to be near, even if they did not exchange words. Unfortunately, this girl did not return his affection or share his passion; however, he was completely devoted to this girl.
God calls us to devote ourselves to prayer. To be devoted means to be totally dedicated and determined. The word used in Colossians 4:2 literally means "to be steadfast," "to be courageously persistent", "to hold fast and not to let go." Some have said that prayer is simply talking to God, but it is so much more than that. Prayer is focusing our heart, thoughts, mind, and emotions completely on Him. It means spending time with Him, seeking His wisdom, listening to Him and waiting on Him; being conscious of Him in all that we do. It requires effort for us to set aside significant time to spend with God. We can be devoted to our loved ones, our careers, our hobbies, and our recreations, but are we devoted to prayer? Sometimes, it is easier to talk about prayer than to actually do it.
Many times, I want to pray, but I am distracted or tired. Effective prayer involves being "watchful" which literally means "keeping alert" and "not falling asleep" (remember the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, Matt. 26:40-41). It means being willing to spend more than five minutes if possible. For this reason, many Christians choose to set aside time in the morning so they can give God their best time at the beginning of the day. We can pray at any time of the day. I remember when I used to work in a mailroom years ago and going into the bathroom stall during my breaks with my little Gideon New Testament and praying throughout the day. Being watchful also means praying with passion and energy, seeking out things about which we should be praying, being willing to pray with and for others, and praying with an earnest expectation that God hears and will answer.
Genuine prayer also needs to begin with an attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving instead of a sense of obligation or routine. We can always be thankful for God's presence, His power, His provision, His salvation, His promises, and His purpose in our lives. Will you take time today and every day to devote yourself to prayer? There is no greater devotion we can have.
"The only way to pray is to pray, the only way to pray well is to pray much." Anonymous
"Time spent in prayer is never wasted." Francois de Fenelon
Posted on Thu, May 5, 2011
by Gregory Hooper