At the beginning of the year, I sensed the Lord’s urging for me to grow in the area of prayer. To set aside focused time to pray expectantly. Since this time, I have been praying with and for those who dare to show, share the same passion for growing and maturing into the image of God by praying. We pray for each other, twice a week first thing in the morning for people we both know, and we do not know, for (un)believers around the world as well as many other things.
One of the beautiful things that has come from our time together is that our prayer has morphed into a time of being directed by the Lord rather than us bringing a grocery list of items to petition Him with. In other words, we have definitely gotten very bold and have grown in our ability to pray as He directs.
We gather together with our Pastor. We hear, and we listen as we read Scripture text together. I deeply believe that the things we have learned and experienced together can clearly be gleaned from this short simple verse in Colossians, “Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer [life], being [both] alert and intent in [your praying] with thanksgiving” (Colossians. 4:2 AMPLIFIED).
Colossians 4:2-4 Amplified Bible
2 Be persistent and devoted to prayer, being alert and focused in your prayer life with an attitude of thanksgiving. 3 At the same time pray for us, too, that God will open a door [of opportunity] to us for the word, to proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I have been imprisoned; 4 that I may make it clear [and speak boldly and unfold the mystery] in the way I should.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Throughout the length and breadth of our Christian life, we are entreated to continue steadfastly in prayer, to pray continuously, to present our needs before our heavenly Provider, to lift up others to the eternal throne of grace, and to bend our ear to His gentle promptings.
This is entreaty proposed by the Apostle Paul to the followers of Colossae whom he has never met, as a duty and responsibility, and yet it is the greatest privilege given to the believer – to come, gather before the throne of grace with petitions, prayers, and pleas for our fellowman and for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain between man and God had been torn, and we are called upon to enter the holy place. We are to bring, in our hands, our hearts, our hopes, the needs of others, together with our grateful thanks, and to offer them in humble reverence before the feet of our Father in heaven.
The Apostle Paul was a man who devoted himself to pray for the saints and to continue steadfastly in prayer. In this verse, he calls the believers in Colossae to continuously, continually discipline, devote themselves into becoming prayer warriors, “devote yourselves to prayer…” he writes, “keeping alert in prayer, with an attitude of thanksgiving.” Open hearts! Open Souls! Open God’s doors!
Discipline! Devotion to prayer meant to continue steadfastly in prayer by their coming to the throne of grace for mercy to find help in times of need. We are to persevere in prayer… to commit to pray and not to give up, especially when the answer seems a long time in coming. We are to persist in prayer, even when we are faced with mounting difficulties and discouragements, we are to pray daily – to pray without ceasing, to take up our cross daily and to saturate it in prayer.
Prayer is to become as regular as our breathing, but too often prayer is the first Christian ‘duty’ to be dropped when life starts to close-in on us, or time seems to be at a premium. Often, an irregular prayer life is the first slippery step on the downward path to complacency, carnality, and an ineffective Christian witness.
Our discipline and devotion to Prayer is our means to maintain an unbroken and continual fellowship with our heavenly Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit and unless we develop persistence in prayer and devote ourselves to praying, we are in serious danger of becoming lazy, disinterested, compromised in our faith.
Personal discipline and devotion to prayer is to ensure that every piece of our spiritual armor has been prayerfully strapped on. In Ephesians, Paul calls us to, “Pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and stay alert in prayer, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:18-19)
Prayer is not sitting for a few minutes with hands folded, and eyes shut tight.
Prayer is the tool we have been given to prepare us for the work God has called us to do and to ensure that we are well-prepared when faced with a crisis.
Prayer is not meant to be saved solely for a rainy or snowy day or only used in case of an emergency. Prayer is our connection; it is our lifeline to the Lord, we should continually discipline ourselves, develop an attitude of ceaseless prayer.
Continuous, ceaseless, prayer is not being engaged in a prayer closet 24/7 but is developing an addiction of prayer. It is our initiating a mindset of prayer… of keeping the lines of communication to the heavenly throne-room open and clean, as we walk in spirit and truth and abide in Christ, moment by moment.
During Christ’s ordeal in Gethsemane, a number of the disciples fell asleep when their prayer support would have been so welcome, and they had to be admonished to, “watch and pray – that ye enter not into temptation.” We live in fallen bodies with an inherent sin nature and hindering the prayer-life of the saints is a top priority for the enemy of our soul. “Keep alert in prayer,” we are all charged, “Watch and pray, with an attitude of thanksgiving.” (Luke 22:39-46)
Throughout this epistle, we are challenged to pray, “with thanksgiving”.
Paul opened his letter to the Colossians by telling them, “I give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,” and later he gave thanks to the Father for their great salvation and inheritance of the saints in the light. In chapter 2 we read the saints were, “firmly rooted and being built up in Him and established in your faith – just as you were instructed and overflowing with gratitude and thanksgiving.”
In chapter 3 Paul exhorts the Colossians, “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him,” and here in chapter 4 we are instructed to, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.”
Prayer is warmed by worship, petitions are perfected by praise, promises are claimed through a grateful heart, and intercessions are offered in the solemn acknowledgement that we have an everlasting audience with the King of kings and Lord of lords. Prayer should not be the “hit and miss” quick afterthought of a busy believer, but a deeply humbled attitude that permeates one’s whole life.
Prayer should be the in-breathing of our Lord into the inner core of our being and prayer should be the out-breathing of our utter devotion to our Saviour and Lord. Let us try to discipline ourselves to remember that when the prayers of the saints are offered up to the Lord in steadfast faith, combined with grateful thanks and a trusting heart, we have the authority of heaven behind all that we carry into/unto the throne of grace – through His nail-pierced hands and feet.
Be Disciplined and Be Devoted to Prayer
Prayer is a skill; it takes time and discipline and practice to develop. To grow one must practice, which means growth comes from praying regularly. Paul said, “Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians. 5:17). Pray without ceasing, pray perseveringly. James said, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16b). So, the first key is placing importance on praying. If it is not something you envision as important, you will never be devoted to it.
Prayer carries with it a great promise from God—an answer, when the prayer is offered in faith according to God’s will. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15). This is incentive to pray; learn what God’s will is and pray in faith. When you do you will see results, He will answer your prayers.
Be Watchful! Be Alert and Intent in Prayer
I steadfastly believe God wants all of His Children to pray, because in it is the ability for Him to move and act in and throughout our 21st century world. He has given authority on earth to believers (Matthew. 18:18; Luke 10:17-19) which carries with it a great responsibility. Prayer is truly one of our greatest weapons (Ephesians. 6:18-19) in other words, a prayerless Church is a weak Church.
Here’s a few thoughts from great men of faith…
“Only God can move mountains, but faith and prayer move God” E.M Bounds; The Necessity of Prayer.
“God does nothing but in answer to prayer” John Wesley.
“The prayer closet is the arena that produces the overcomer” Paul E. Billheimer; Destined for the Throne.
Pauls instructions are that we are to be watchful, alert and intent in prayer. It is not a last resort, it is our first line of defense.
Be Thankful in Prayer
If devotion and intention get us to the true place where we are praying than gratitude and thankfulness is the key that unlocks the power of prayer. Why?
Because praise elevates you into a different realm of praying. Praise turns the focus off you and onto God; the result is faith and remember the prayer of faith is powerful (James 5:16b); the prayer of faith is answered (I John 5:14-15) and the prayer of faith moves mountains (Mark 11:23-24).
“Praise is the detergent that purifies faith and purges doubt from the heart. The secret of answered prayer is faith without doubt (Mark 11:23). And the secret of faith without doubt is praise—triumphant praise, continuous praise, praise that is a way of life” Paul E. Billheimer; Destined for the Throne.
Let’s Open our Hearts! Let’s Open up our Souls! Come, Let’s Have a Heart-to-Heart Conversation with our Jesus … Let us Open up a brand-new Door!
In the name of God, the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us pray,
Heavenly Father, I deeply bless You for Your grace and mercy to us. Thank You Jesus that I have the right to lay at Your feet my own needs and those of others. Increase my understanding of the great privilege of prayer which has now been granted to me and all Your children, and I pray that I increasingly devote my life to You in prayer, praise, and grateful thanks. This I ask in Jesus’ name, AMEN.