Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Col 4:2, ESV
A one-sentence command on prayer. That is all we have in this verse. Even so, I imagine that most of you would agree, we have more than enough. This one-sentence command on prayer is a divinely inspired imperative—a call to action. It has three components. Prayer must be:
Steadfast: “Continue steadfastly” is one word in the original Greek. It is a verb that expresses devotion to a task. We are not called to fit prayer in where it is convenient, we are called to devote ourselves to it, to be utterly committed to regular communication with God. Are you devoted to prayer? Are you steadfast in the practice of prayer? How long can you go without speaking to your Father in heaven?
Watchful: We are to be on guard, perpetually alert, in our devotion to prayer. Our spiritual eyes need to be wide open to what is going on around us for the purpose of prayer. We should always be on the lookout for reasons to pray. Is this how you look at your family, your church, and the world? Are you ever watchful for people and events to bring before the throne of God in prayer?
Thankful: Your prayers should be saturated with thanksgiving, starting with thankfulness for a God who hears prayer and moving from there to thanksgiving for the abundance of blessings in your life. Even when it feels like you have lost much, you must see that such loss could only happen to one who had been blessed with much to start with. Are you thankful at your core? Do you count your blessings more fervently than you bemoan your losses?
We are in a time of social isolation during a global pandemic. Our lives have been changed and will likely never return to exactly what they were before this happened. If you were already devoted to prayer, this has been fertile ground for you. If you were already on alert, you likely have observed so many needs that you have had little time to eat and sleep because you are so busy in prayer. If you already had a thankful heart, you are probably overwhelmed with evidence of God’s grace during this time as lives are spared, technology benefits worship and communication in isolation, and you see saints actively serving others.
I am sure that we all need some work in this area. With that in mind, I offer this plan: Pray about it! Read this verse to God and ask Him to help you obey it. Schedule prayer times throughout the day, alone and with others. Use technology together to pray with others. Don’t waste a phone call without praying for the person on the other end. Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
I am praying for you.