I have been posting a lot of prayers during my sabbatical because of the time it gives me to pray. I am enjoying the large amounts of time to be still and wait for the Lord immensely. This morning I came across Colossians 4:2, which tells us something of how to pray:
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
This verse tells us three things about prayer:
- Be devoted to it
- Be alert and ready
- Be thankful
As I sit in the early morning hours and read these words, my tired eyes are drawn to number 2. What does it mean to be alert and ready? The original greek word (gregoreuo) means to keep awake, refrain from sleep and so to remain alert, watchful and ready to meet danger or emergency. It means to be quick to perceive and act; being on the lookout.
We have to be ready prayer at all times! I think this seems easy until I think about how often I am drawn to prayer during the day. A hint, it’s not real often some days. If I’m devoted to prayer and being watchful, most of my day should be drawing me to prayer.
Why is be watchful for opportunities to pray important? It is holy work. It is the work of setting your mind on the things of heaven and then praying that it may be on earth as it is in heaven. I think this can look many different ways. A few suggestions:
- When someone needs prayer, pray with them right then rather than later by yourself. If you are alert, you will be ready and see the opportunity.
- Set aside regular times each day to stop and pray. At the church we stop each day at 10am and 2pm for 10-15 minutes of prayer. Making it a regular habit helps me be alert.
- Learn to listen to the Holy Spirit. It will help you know when there is danger or emergency that you are to be meeting head on with prayer.
How can I pray for you today?