Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Devoted to Prayer

This was originally shared on Leah's and my blog "Follow in His Steps", and
I thought I would share it here as well . . . .



Awhile back, I had shared a post about my Bible memory verse boxes and getting back into trying to memorize a verse a day (except for weekends which were for review – and I do miss days periodically as well). With doing this, I have found in my own heart and life, many blessings being reaped. So often, the verse (or verses) that I would be working on memorizing, or ones that were memorized earlier, would come to mind throughout the day and I would have the opportunity to meditate on them and look for ways to apply them to my life.


Recently, one particular verse struck a chord in my heart as it is an area I had been convicted to grow in and was also seeing the absolute necessity for it in order to have an active and growing life in Christ. This verse kept coming to mind and gave me a lot of opportunity to think about it and to dig deeper into it . . . .


Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” (Colossians 4:2)

Have you ever thought about what it means to be devoted to prayer? To be alert in it? As I repeated this verse over and over while working on memorizing it, those phrases seemed to be standing out in bold and really were convicting to me. The word “devote” is one that I have studied before, so I had a pretty good idea of what it meant. Yet when doing a bit of further study, I was surprised to discover what the Greek word itself means that was translated as this “devote.”

I looked it up in our concordance and found that the Greek word is proskartereo which means “to attend constantly.” As I read that, it was kind of like a ‘wow’ moment . . . one of those times where I just had to stop and think about the deep implications that that one word holds. It is so much more than I would have ever thought . . . so much further reaching, so very much a part of who we should be. To think the Lord has called us to constantly attend to prayer! How convicting this is!


Looking further, it was found that the phrase “keeping alert” simply means “to be awake, to watch.” This being devoted to prayer and keeping alert in it, then, seems to be a heart so close to the Lord, so intimate in fellowship, and so ready to, all throughout the day, go to the Lord in prayer for wisdom, strength, help, provision, and so much more, with whatever circumstances come our way during the day. Just like abiding in Christ becomes an integral part of our life, so should prayer become a constant aspect of our life in Christ.


For myself, there is a particular area that, as I thought about this “devoted to prayer” over the past weeks, especially hit home to me. It is related to speaking a word for Christ to others (such as people I meet in town, extended family, friends, acquaintances, etc.) and pointing hearts to Christ. This is something that is very important to me, but so often, opportunities come up to say something, and I miss them because I do not think about it until after the fact. This has happened so many times the past months when after having a conversation with someone, I would look back and see many ways where I could have turned the conversation to spiritual things, turned it to sharing the gospel, offered a word of encouragement, and more.


But then when I memorized this verse, I realized that if my heart was alert to prayer and if I had that constant, open communication with the Lord and turned to Him immediately asking for His Spirit’s guidance as soon as these types of conversations would come up, then I would know how to respond. But in order to be ready for these situations (and others as well), I need to be cultivating that heart now.


And this is just one tiny aspect of life that can be so affected through prayer! And that should be brought to the Lord in prayer. I am reminded of the verse in 1 Thessalonians “
Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; emphasis added.) It is God’s will for us to pray to Him always with joy and thanksgiving. Should it not be our great delight to do so? Just think, prayer is communication with the Lord God! Not only the all-knowing and all-wise Creator of all, but our Lord and Savior! Our Redeemer and Friend. Just thinking of this beautiful relationship and the special avenue of communication that we fallible, yet redeemed, people have with Him fills my heart with awe and thankfulness to the Lord. That He has such care for us and love for us, that His ear is always open to our prayer. That even His Son, Jesus Christ, is our intercessor and mediator! With just knowing these beautiful truths, what a joy it should be to us, and how eager we should be, to indeed, be devoted, to be constantly attending, to prayer.


For me personally, this heart that is devoted to prayer is closely tied with having my mind set on things above, resting and abiding in Christ, and having my regular times with the Lord in His Word. It is like fabric on a loom where each strand is woven together to form the beauty of the whole. Yet if some of the threads are broken or missing, the strength of the fabric suffers and its beauty will be lacking. Oh, to remember to cultivate the strength of each of the threads in my spiritual life! Including having and cultivating this beautiful heart that is so close to the Lord that it is devoted to prayer to Him and alert in it with all thanksgiving.

8 comments:

  1. How beautiful! So very convicting!! That verse goes along with a lot of what I have been studying and thinking about. God's timing is amazing! :o)

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  2. I am glad that it was a blessing to you, Nabila! And isn't it wonderful to see how the Lord works? . . . how when we are learning about something or really have something on our heart, that we'll often come across things that directly relate? As you shared, His timing is amazing!

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  3. Prayer is definitely something I have struggled with. Thank you for sharing your study with us. It is very convicting and so true that God gives us opportunities and we sometimes miss them because we are not ready for them.

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing such encouraging thoughts, Sarah! As a mother, time for uninterrupted, private prayer is hard to come by. I often find myself praying in the middle of the night, as I nurse a baby or rock a child or am just unable to sleep for various reasons. But it is so encouraging to know that we can stay close to the Lord throughout the day and commune with Him wherever we are and whatever we are doing.

    Your heart for the Lord is so lovely, dear sister!

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  5. I am glad that it was a blessing to you, Amy K. And thank you for your comment!

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  6. Thank you, Sarah, for the encouraging post. Philippians 4:6,7 would also encourage us to pray more: "Be careful about nothing; but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses every understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts by Christ Jesus."

    While reading your post, I was encouraged by the thought that God is constantly taking account of us, in love. Would He not desire to help us in every situation we are in? "I will instruct thee and teach thee the way in which thou shalt go; I will counsel thee with mine eye upon thee", Psalm 32:8.

    You may be interested in something from FRH's biography. Her mother died in 1848 when she was about 11. Shortly before she died, she told Frances, 'Fanny dear, pray to God to prepare you for all that He is preparing for you.' FRH referred to this only a few weeks before her own death: 'The words mamma taught me in 1848 have been a life prayer with me. This 'preparing' goes on; it is as when gaining one horizon, another and another spreads before you. So every event prepares us for the next that is prepared for us.'

    Sorry for the length of the comment!

    Neil

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  7. You must have left your comment at the same time that I was replying to comments, Joy. :) I am sorry that I missed yours until afterwards!

    It was so nice, though, to sign back into blogger later and see all of your comments waiting. And thank you so much for this encouraging one! It meant a lot to me. Thank you also for sharing your heart . . . I would imagine that it would be difficult to find time for uninterrupted, private prayer with being a mother and having five dear children. Yet even that lack of time can result in blessing as it encourages to, as you shared, pray during those times at night or throughout the day as well. Taking those little moments . . . while kneading bread, vacuuming, folding laundry, doing handwork, making dinner, etc. . . . and using them for communion and fellowship with our Father.

    Thank you again for your comment, Joy, and I am glad that what was shared here could be an encouragement!

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  8. Thank you for your comment, Neil, and for sharing those verses (and please don’t worry about the length!) The first passage is one of my favorites, and it fits in very well. The second is also so encouraging. It is a wonderful truth that God desires to instruct, teach, and help us in every situation that we are in. And how that should encourage us to always turn to Him in prayer!

    Thank you also for sharing that portion from Frances Havergal’s biography, as yes, I did appreciate it. :) Her prayer should be a continual one of all believers as well . . . for as the Father knows what lies ahead of each one of us day by day, and if our hearts are open and willing, He will use the circumstances in our lives to prepare us and strengthen us for whatever lies ahead.

    Thank you again for sharing! And I am glad that what was shared here could be an encouragement to you as well.

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)