Monday, 29 May 2017
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; Colossians 4:2
Paul lays heavy stress on the need for prayer in his epistles. In 1 Thessalonians 5, he tells his readers to “pray without ceasing.” The same thought is expanded upon here. He tells those in Colossae (and thus us!) to continue in prayer (as in praying without ceasing), but he tells them to do so in an earnest, steadfast manner. There should be a vibrancy in their prayer life, as if it is a natural extension of their very being.
The idea of continuing earnestly in prayer does not mean that we get on our knees and stay there all day without accomplishing anything else. There are many types of prayers, and the admonition fits any of them at any given time. There are formal prayers and informal prayers. There are silent prayers of the heart given in our times of distress or deep need, and there are vocal prayers which are given to build up others for courage, comfort, or edification. There are secret prayers, given between oneself and God which reveal the innermost soul of the one praying. There are public prayers offered for gatherings of God’s people as they meet to worship or petition Him. There are prepared prayers which are meticulously worded in order to inspire deep conviction, reverence, or courage. And there are sudden prayers which leap out of our souls as we come upon a moment of need.
Paul’s admonition to “continue earnestly in prayer” is one which should be taken literally. There is never a time that we can simply talk to God and it not be considered a prayer. He next expands upon his words by saying “being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.”
In life, we often get sidetracked by things that come our way, and our minds tend to wander from our connection with the Lord. Paul tells us that we are to be vigilant, or watchful, ensuring that we don’t let go of our prayer life. And in our prayers, we are to add in thanksgiving. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, he admonishes, “…in everything give thanks.” It is the same thought here. If we are praying continuously, and if we are giving thanks in all of our prayers, then we are giving thanks continuously. This attitude should be a constant part of who we are at all times.
Life application: How easy it is to not be thankful. We simply forget about the many kindnesses which come to us. But if we can remember to be in prayer always, and that thanksgiving should be a part of those prayers, then we will not fall into the state of ingratitude. It takes mental effort, but it can be done. Don’t let the world of whining and griping get you down. Instead, let the spiritual connection you have with God be nurtured to a state of constant vibrancy.
Lord God, it sure is easy to forget to be thankful. This is especially so in this world where whining and griping seems to permeate every aspect of our lives. The work environment, the news media, social media, and on and on… complaining has become the standard. But help us to not be drawn down in that way. Instead, help us to remember Your kind deeds which have come our way. Help us to be grateful for them, and to pray without ceasing while adding in thanks to that steady stream of prayers. Help us in this Lord. Amen.