Friday 17/12/2021
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.”

Prayer:
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.

每日灵粮
星期五,2021年12月17日
标题:恒切祷告
作者:赵一丹
翻译:陈月妃

你们要恒切祷告、在此儆醒感恩.–歌罗西书4:2

抚心自问,我们大多数人都祷告得不够。我们知道我们应该祷告,我们也知道我们应该与我们的主有一个更深入的关系。我们也明白有如此多的祷告需要—不论是为自己或是为他人。然而,我们仍然祷告得不够。

也许是因为我们天生就有一个内在的因果奖励触发器。尽管我们相信上帝会回应我们的祷告,但我们并没有从祷告中得到我们通常希望看到的即时回报。

但在此处,我们被劝勉要恒切的祷告,从某种意义上说,是要使之成为一种固定的习惯。不是只有在我们想做的时候才做的事情。也许在祷告这件事情上,我们该做的就是持之以恒以见证它所带来的能力。

约翰•派珀(John Piper)在灵修文章中说,“祷告是不可或缺的,祷告也不是碰运气”。“恒切”祷告意味着我们不是偶然才做的,也不会忘记祷告。这意味着我们会设法让它成为我们日常生活的一部分,就像吃饭和睡觉一样。

除了恒切的祷告,这节经文也让我们深入了解到我们应该如何祷告。保罗建议我们在祷告中的态度应该是儆醒与感恩,这也是最基本的。

祷告中的“儆醒”是什么意思?首先,这可能意味着我们应该避免盲目、机械式或过于条理式的祷告方式。这也可能意味着我们应该在精神上“调整”到神和祂的圣灵的工作。这也可能意味着我们应该总是按照祂的能力,祂的旨意及祂的应许来祷告。

我相信儆醒也提醒我们,当我们来到神跟前祷告时,我们乃是完全仰赖神。这与我们个人无关,而是与祂能在我们的生命成就什么有关。因此,我们要经常祷告,无论得时不得时,乃是按着基督的真理祷告。

腓立比书4:6-8中有一段经文鼓励和安慰我。保罗写道:“应当一无挂虑、只要凡事借着祷告、祈求、和感谢、将你们所要的告诉 神”。在歌罗西书4:2中,他还说,当我们祷告时,我们应该不断地感恩,这并非巧合。

确实,我们应该感谢上帝的事情太多了。上帝给了我们太多太多,所以我们不应该去想我们没有的东西。最重要的是,我们感谢我们的造物主上帝赐给我们祂的独生子,为我们舍弃祂的生命,这样我们就可以与天父建立永远的关系。

当我们怀着感恩的心时,喜乐就会开始充满我们的心。我们知道并相信上帝在我们的生命中有一个至高无上的计划,这是远超出我们所希望和所梦想的。我们可以意识到,与将来有一天会到来的美妙永恒体验相比,我们的世俗体验只不过是一瞬间而已。

是的,祷告就是与神交流并建立关系。除了恒切祷告,儆醒和感恩之外,别无他法。

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。”

祷告:父神,请原谅我祷告得不够。我渴望与你建立有意义的关系,我祈祷你的圣灵会激励我经常向你祷告,时刻儆醒并有一颗感恩的心。我知道我的祷告会讨你喜悦,我知道你总是听到我的祷告。奉耶稣的名感谢,阿门。