“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;”
E. M. Bounds wrote “Prayer unites with God’s purposes and lays itself out to secure those purposes.” We can see from our passage that Paul believed in the synergy between prayer and the purpose of God. He was a great believer in the power of prayer and encouraged the Church to establish a lifestyle of personal prayer and intercession.
The Church in all ages is the most effective when making much use of this amazing source of power. Cities have always benefited from the Church whose social activities were conceived, planned and driven by persistent powerful praying. Nothing compares to the effectiveness of personal plans or public policies that are being powered by the engine of persistent prayer.
Many benefits are derived from the lifestyle of persistent private and united prayer. Here Paul encourages the Colossian Church to be devoted to prayer, being watchful, with an attitude of thanksgiving. This is God’s will for the Church in all ages concerning prayer. Paul had so much confidence in the praying Church, that he asked the believers at Colossae to keep him and his mission team under the cover of their prayers: “And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should” (Colossians 4:3-4). With a simple commitment to devotion, awareness and gratitude, our prayers become a force to be reckoned with.
Paul tells the Church to devote themselves to prayer. “Devote” here means to “adhere firmly to,” “to persist in,” or remain devoted to.” This appears in the “present active” tense, which means a lifestyle of continued action. The Church is to be devoted to the lifestyle of regular prayer together as well as being devoted to praying privately.
Praying regularly as described in the passage above caused the Church to become an unstoppable force for good in society. Jesus said that the gates of hell itself could never stop the Church if it’s resting on the proper foundation… and the “spiritual Concrete” foundations of the Church were poured in prayer. Keep this in mind, living and praying as God intended, makes us a part of an invincible army equipped with an array of supernatural weapons, that hell itself has no defense against.
In the heat of battle remember that God is with us and that in Christ the Church is unstoppable. Like all military personnel engaged in conflict, being alert on the battlefield is imperative. Being watchful when we’re praying, following our heart when we sense something the Holy Spirit might be saying, and following our conscience is the way of Spirit led praying.
The Holy Spirit is here to help and guide you and I in our praying. The Church is equipped with Spiritual radar enabling us to see and to know things that others don’t. The Spirit will help us when we don’t know what to prayer for. He will show us what needs to be prayed about now, and He will alert us to things that are coming, so we can pray those things through before they happen.
Finally, have an attitude of thanksgiving, because we already know that God is good to all and He loves to answer us when we pray. Faith grows faster with an attitude of gratitude. Recalling past victories and thanking God for them builds our confidence and fills us with great expectations for future blessings regardless of our current circumstances. I have for many years kept a personal yearly tradition of gratitude. I rise early every Thanksgiving morning, having written a list of specific things I am thankful for, I go to a nearby park and purposely thank and praise God for each item on my list.
So, devote yourself to praying regularly, and follow Paul’s instructions found in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Be devoted to prayer, Be alert in it, Be thankful, and Be Encouraged! – JSP