Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Our First Line of Defense

Tuesday, November 14, 2023 

 Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2

Our First Line of Defense

Paul had been giving the church from Colossae principles for Christian living. In today’s verse, he is speaking on prayer – telling the Colossians they need to be devoted to it, stay alert in it, and pray with thanksgiving. It is easy to pray and even easier to pray with thanksgiving when times are good. But in seasons of suffering or sorrow, we may struggle with praying at all, and especially with thanksgiving.

Paul certainly knew about suffering and so did the church at Colossae. In his letters to them, Paul wanted to be sure they did not miss the importance of prayer in the life of the believer. 

Devote yourselves to prayer…

The culture was abounding with false gods, idols, and false religions. Paul showed the Colossians how and what they should pray to an all-sufficient Christ. The idols and false gods could not give them what they needed – only Jesus can do that. The first thing he told them was to devote themselves to prayer. A prayer that is devoted to Christ is focused and centered on Christ, not self. 

When we are devoted to someone or something, it implies more than just the normal amount of attention we give things in our lives. Two definitions of devoted are 1.) Very loving or loyal; and 2.) given over to the display, study, or discussion of…. To be devoted in prayer, means that we are intentional with prayer, not infrequent or haphazard. It means that we should pray regularly, not hit and miss. It means that it should be a regular part of our lives – a part that is not skipped over at any point. It is a whole life devotion to a continued and never ceasing relationship with our Heavenly Father. 

stay alert in it…

Paul told the Colossians to stay alert in their prayers. The intent of their hearts and focus should be on God's purposes, not theirs. Staying alert in prayer guards our hearts and minds. We need more than a prayer list we need a prayer life! We should take prayer seriously and not casually.

If we are not focusing intently on our conversation with God, we will be distracted by a thousand little things. There is always plenty going on in our lives or around us that can draw our attention away from the most important thing we will do all day. Jesus told the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane “Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 Jesus knew that the temptation was there for them to fall asleep and no matter how much they did not want to fall asleep, their flesh was weak. They needed to stay alert. Sleep is not the only thing that can distract us from our time with the Lord. Satan loves to distract us away from Him in any way he can, and if he can distract us from talking to Him, he knows it will have a powerful impact on our day.   

with thanksgiving…

Prayer and thanksgiving are the marks of an active faith, rather than a stagnant faith. They give life to our faith. A mature faith has learned to be thankful for everything – even the hard things. The hard things transform us and draw us closer to Him. No matter what is happening in our lives we should always remember to tell God thank you for the things He has done. He is aways worthy of praise, and praise – it opens our heart and lifts the fog of discouragement and gloom. It takes our focus off our own needs, desires, pain, and circumstances and helps us to focus directly on Him, His goodness, mercy and love for us.

Prayer equips us and prepares us for anything we have to face. Without prayer, we will not be ready to face what comes. It is our first and foremost line of defense in this life. It is the only answer for everything that comes our way, and it is essential in our walk with God. It is a privilege and honor that the King of Kings longs for us to come to Him, to seek Him, to have this communion with Him. He wants us to bring everything to Him and prayer should always be our first response to everything in our lives. We need to be devoted to our time with Him, stay alert, and give Him praise and thanksgiving every day.  

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