Thursday, July 4, 2013
Devotion to Prayer
"Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving." Colossians 4:2
Prayer has never come naturally to me. I have always felt awkward in prayer for some reason. Over the past year, I have finally come to the conclusion that in all my years as a Christian, I have never really learned how to communicate with God properly. Not that I haven't made valiant efforts. I have had beautiful prayer journals. Sections for specific days and topics. I have written out my prayers (I still believe that helps me concentrate). I've used all the acronyms and prayer plans. But in the end, I look at it all and think, "If one of my friends communicated with me this way, I would toss them out the door." Some days I feel all I do is bring my wish list to God - admirable though it may be - and ask and ask and ask. For now, I'm done with asking.
Color me ecstatic when I learned our little Bible study between online Bible studies was going to be on prayer!
The verse at the top of the post from Colossians is one of our focal verses this week. It is the end of Paul's letter to the church at Colossi and he is asking for prayer for himself and for the word of God to go out.I can't say that verse two had ever jumped out at me before, but this time I saw with fresh eyes.
Devote. Dictionary.com says this means to concentrate on a particular pursuit, occupation, purpose, cause; to set apart or dedicate by a solemn or formal act; consecrate. The Amplified Bible reads like this, "Be diligent and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer (life)...". The Message says, "Pray diligently..."
My prayer life has to be intentional. I have to concentrate on it. While sending up short prayers during the day are necessary and good, I can't rely on that totally. I have to consecrate or dedicate myself to this act of communion with God. Like Mary in yesterday's post, I have to sit and listen. I can't just run in with a list of wants. I have to set apart a time and a place to have a conversation - talking AND listening. Preferably, more of the latter.
Stay alert. Alert is also defined as being "fully aware and attentive'. Once I dedicate myself to this pursuit of deeper prayer, I can't go about it haphazardly. I can't have the television on at the same time I'm talking to God. I can't be keeping one eye on the internet. I need to go into my closet and pray. (Matt 6:6) I must be fully aware and attentive, sitting at his feet, listening in order to hear what he has to speak into my life.
One word that caught my attention from the Amplified Bible was "unwearied". The thought of being weary in prayer resonated. Possibly because my prayers had become so much requesting and I seemed to receive so few answers, that I just got tired of trying. Beginning now, I am starting over. Getting back to basics, so to speak and learning all over again. My main goal is not to see tangible results, but to know him better. Then if I remain in him and to have his words remain in me whatever I want will be done for me because it will be what he wants too. (John 15:7)