Praying rightly, specifically, and intentionally
Col 4:4 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Col 4:3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison--
Col 4:4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
If you ever want a quick encouragement, or to find a wealth of wisdom from a text of scripture, go to the end of one of Paul’s letters. Like at the end of a telephone conversation cut short, Paul blurts out many but quick truths he wants to get across to the receiver of his message. In this letter to the church in Colossi, Paul gives a quick but deep command to them about praying.
Col 4:2a Continue steadfastly in prayer…
Steadfastly: Firm: with resolute determination
Could you say that you are firmly, with a resolute determination, praying to God? This is not just a command for a single prayer, but it is a command for your prayer life. If you were praying with resolute determination, does it seem like that would also reflect frequency of prayer? I know that if I am firmly resolute in determination about something, I’m going to be tenacious about it until what I am determined about is accomplished. Are you praying like that? If not, why? Does the answer speak to you about where your heart is whether good or bad?
Col 4:2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Paul tells the church to be watchful in it their prayers. So they are to continue steadfastly not only in prayer but also in watchfulness while praying. Why would he say that? Why would someone be watchful in prayer? When someone is watchful, they expect something to happen. People watch the news to see what is happening, people watch sports to see who will win, and people watch the stock market to see how the economy is doing. They watch because they expect something to happen. That is why we should watch while we pray with firm, resolute determination. We watch because we expect and trust God to do something. Are you expecting him to move? Are you expecting him to do anything?
Jas 1:3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
Jas 1:4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Jas 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
Jas 1:6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
Jas 1:8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
If we don’t expect him to answer, if we doubt his many promises of answering prayer, James says that we cannot expect God to do anything. Are you watching for God with eager expectation?
Col 4:2b …being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Paul says that thanksgiving is going to come with our watchfulness. This can only mean one thing, God is going to do something. This is crystal clear. There will be thanksgiving when we watch because when we are attentive, alert, and searching for God’s answer without doubt, we will see his answer to our prayer. He has promised to answer them in his word.
Joh 14:13 whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
That is the key. God loves to answer prayer because he receives glory by our thanksgiving. God loves to be our giver. It is more glorious to be the giver than the receiver. God loves to answer prayer because he wants us to know that he loves us, he wants unbelievers to know that Jesus is the true Son of God, and he wants all the earth to give him Glory.
Mat 7:7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Mat 7:8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
Mat 7:9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
Mat 7:10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
Mat 7:11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
1Pe 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
1Pe 5:7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Joh 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Joh 15:8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Psa 50:14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High,
Psa 50:15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.
Are you praying like Paul commands us to? Are you steadfastly praying, are you watching eagerly, and are you glorifying him when he does answer prayer? This is the most important thing for us to do. If we do not humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, and firmly with determination go after him in prayer, believing that he is going to do something, we are not being responsible with the work God has given to us. We cannot be self-reliant because self-reliance is spiritual suicide.
Pray now for him to glorify himself through answering your prayers and then watch for his answer.