Devote yourselves to prayer
Keeping alert in it
With an attitude of thanksgiving
The aforementioned Scripture, is part of the instructions we are given in Colossians 3:1-25, and Colossians 4:1-6; these instructions teach us how to conduct are lives on a daily basis as followers of JESUS CHRIST.
Today, we will examine the instruction for prayer, by examining the three-fold way we have been instructed to pray.
First, we are instructed to “devote ourselves to prayer” What does it mean to “devote yourself to prayer”? The English word “devote” in this passage of Scripture was translated from the Greek word “proskartereō” (NT:4342) and it means to:
• adhere (or stick to)
These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer
Along with the women, and Mary the mother of JESUS, and with HIS brothers
• diligent (pay close attention to; take great effort)
And HE came to the disciples and found them sleeping
And said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with ME for one hour?
“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
• be steadfast (not changing; not wavering; staying strong)
Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed
He entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem)
And he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his GOD
As he had been doing previously
• continue at all times
Pray without ceasing
1 Thessalonians 5:17
• persevere and not faint (or give up)
Now HE was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart
Saying, in a certain city there was a judge who did not fear GOD and did not respect man
There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying
‘Give me legal protection from my opponent’
For a while he was unwilling
But afterward he said to himself, ‘even though I do not fear GOD nor respect man
Yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection
Otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out’
And The LORD said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said
Now, will not GOD bring about justice for HIS elect who cry to HIM day and night
And will HE delay long over them?
I tell you that HE will bring about justice for them quickly
However, when The SON of Man comes, will HE find faith on the earth?”
Why has our Beloved LORD GOD called us to be “devoted in prayer”? Devoted or persistent prayer, causes us to be in continual direct communication with HIM. This consistent communication causes us to be reliant upon HIM (Psa 71:5, Psa 84:12, Jer 17:7-8); to draw close to HIM (Jam 4:8); bringing us into HIS presence (Exd 34:5-8).
It is in HIS presence things are put into perspective (Psa 73:1-28); fear is exchanged for confidence (Jdgs 6:22-24, Isa 41:10-13); anxiety is replaced with peace (Php 4:6-8); sorrow is turned into comfort (Isa 51:12, 2 Cor 1:3-4); despair changed to hope (Psa 42:5-11, Psa 43:4-5,); defeat becomes victory (2 Sam 5:22-24, Psa 56:1-13); and we are able to resist the enemy (1 Sam 30:6, Psa 18:1-2, Jam 4:7, 1 Pet 5:6-8).
Second, we are instructed to “keep alert in it” What does it mean to “keep alert in prayer”? The English word “alert” in this passage of Scripture was translated from the Greek word “grēgoreō” (NT:1127) and it means to:
• keep awake (completely conscious; not drowsy or any state of sleep)
But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief
For you are all sons of light and sons of day
We are not of night nor of darkness
So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober
For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night
But since we are of the day, let us be sober
Having put on the breastplate of faith and love
And as a helmet, the hope of salvation
1 Thessalonians 5:4-8
• be watchful (carefully observing; paying close attention to; perceptive)
Then The LORD said to Gideon
The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there
Therefore it shall be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go with you
But everyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go”
So he brought the people down to the water
And The LORD said to Gideon
“You shall separate everyone who laps the water with his tongue as a dog laps
As well as everyone who kneels to drink”
Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men
But all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water
The LORD said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped
And will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home”
• be vigilant (staying watchful and alert to danger or trouble)
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert
Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour
But resist him, firm in your faith
Knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world
1 Peter 5:8-9
Why have we been called to “keep alert in prayer”? If we look at 1 Peter 4:7 using translations from both the Complete Jewish Bible and Message, the question is answered succinctly (or gets to the point in just a few words):
The accomplishing of the goal of all things is close at hand.
Therefore, keep alert and self-controlled, so that you can pray.
1 Peter 4:7 (Complete Jewish Bible translation)
Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted.
Stay wide-awake in prayer.
1 Peter 4:7 (The Message translation)
Third, we are instructed to “have an attitude of thanksgiving” What does it mean to “to have an attitude of thanksgiving”? The English word “thanksgiving” in this passage of Scripture was translated from the Greek word “eucharistia” (NT:2169) and it means to have:
• gratitude (to be grateful, appreciative)
Enter HIS gates with thanksgiving
And HIS courts with praise.
Give thanks to HIM, bless HIS NAME.
For The LORD is good;
HIS lovingkindness is everlasting
And HIS faithfulness to all generations.
• thankfulness (both acknowledge and recognize the benefits received)
Sing to The LORD a new song
Sing to The LORD, all the earth
Sing to The LORD, bless HIS NAME
Proclaim good tidings of HIS salvation from day to day
Tell of HIS glory among the nations
HIS wonderful deeds among all the peoples
For great is The LORD and greatly to be praised
HE is to be feared above all gods
For all the gods of the peoples are idols
But The LORD made the heavens
Splendor and majesty are before HIM
Strength and beauty are in HIS sanctuary
Ascribe to The LORD, O families of the peoples
Ascribe to The LORD glory and strength
Ascribe to The LORD the glory of HIS name
Bring an offering and come into HIS courts
Worship The LORD in holy attire
Tremble before HIM, all the earth
Say among the nations, The LORD reigns
Indeed, the world is firmly established
It will not be moved
HE will judge the peoples with equity
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice
Let the sea roar, and all it contains
Let the field exult, and all that is in it
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy before The LORD
For HE is coming
For HE is coming to judge the earth
HE will judge the world in righteousness
And the peoples in HIS faithfulness
Why have we been called to “have an attitude of thanksgiving in prayer”? A heart that comes to our Beloved LORD GOD full of thanksgiving, is a heart that fully knows WHO HE is (Jer 32:16-17, Luk 1:37, Heb 11:6); a heart that remembers all HE has done (Psa 103:2, Psa 116:12); a heart that has full confidence in HIM (Psa 59:16-17, Psa 95:1-7, Psa 91:1-3, 2 Tim 2:13); a heart that has experienced HIS goodness and mercy (Psa 124:1-8, Psa 63:1-8, Psa 116:1-2, Psa 121:1-8).
Trust in HIM at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before HIM;
GOD is a refuge for us. Selah.