By Chow Ee-Tan 赵一丹
DEVOTE TO PRAYER
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful – Colossians 4:2 (NIV)
If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us don’t pray enough. We know we should, and we know we should have a deeper walk with our Lord. We also understand that there is so much need to pray about – for ourselves and for others. Yet, we still don’t pray enough.
Perhaps it is because we are built with an internal cause and effect reward trigger. Even though we believe that God answers prayers, we don’t get the immediate payoff we’d often like to see with prayers.
But here, we are told to DEVOTE ourselves to prayer, in the sense to make it a constant habit. Not something that we do only when we feel like it. And perhaps what we really should do with prayer is to stick with it long enough and often enough to witness its power.
John Piper says in a devotion that “prayer is not infrequent and prayer is not hit and miss”. Being “devoted to” prayer means that we are not haphazard and we are not forgetful to pray. It means we are to take steps to see that it is part of our regular life, the same way for eating and sleeping.
Beyond the devotion to prayer, this verse also gives us an insight into HOW we should pray. Paul suggests it is fundamental that our posture in prayer is to be watchful and thankful.
What does being
watchful’ in prayer mean? For one, it could mean that we should guard against mindless, mechanical or over-methodical approach to prayer. It can also mean we shouldtune in’ spiritually to God and His Spirit’s work. It can also mean that we should always pray in the light of His power, His purposes and His promises.
I believe that being watchful is also a reminder that we are completely dependent upon God when we come to Him in prayer. It’s not about us but about what He can do in our lives. So we are to pray always, not just anyway or anyhow, but in view of the truth of Christ.
A scripture passage that is encouraging and comforting to me is Philippians 4:6-8. Paul writes: “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”. It is not by coincidence that in Colossians 4:2, he also says we should remain continuously thankful when we pray.
Indeed, there are so many things that we ought to be thankful to God for. We have been given so much by God.Therefore we should not think about what we do NOT have. Above all, we are thankful that our creator God has given us His only son, to lay down His life for us so that we can have a relationship with our Father in heaven, forever.
When we harbour a spirit of gratitude in us, joy will begin to fill our hearts. We know and trust that God has a provision and sovereign plan in our lives that is more than what we hope and dream for. And we can come to realize that our worldly experience is just a flash of time compared to the wonderful eternal experience that would come one day.
Yes, prayer is communing and building a relationship with God. And there is no other way but to devote ourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Someone once asked C.S. Lewis, “Why pray if God knows all and is sovereign over all?” Lewis replied, “You might as well ask me why breathe, for prayer to the soul is as necessary as breathing for the body.”
Father God, forgive me for I have not been praying enough. I long to have a meaningful relationship with You and I pray that Your Holy Spirit will spur me to pray to You regularly, being watchful always and having a heart of thankfulness. I know my prayers will bring delight to Your heart and I know You always hear my prayers. Thank You in Jesus’ name, Amen.
有人曾问 C.S. Lewis，“如果上帝无所不知，并且掌管一切，为什么还要祷告呢？” C.S. Lewis回答说：“你不妨问我为什么要呼吸，因为灵魂要祷告就像身体需要呼吸一样重要。”