“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
Devotion: A commitment to a fundamental and primary purpose.
Samuel Chadwick, a 19th century Wesleyan Methodist minister wrote, “Prayer is the acid test of devotion”. Our devotion to prayer mirrors our dependence on God. It is purpose and passion wrapped in petition. Bunyan wrote, “Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.”
Paul encouraged the believers in Colossae to let prayer capture their heart. It is to be a “fundamental and primary purpose”. Prayer is the fulcrum . . . the point from which all things pivot . . . In our lives. And, in praying, he gives two increasingly important insights.
Be Attentive. Distractions can detour us from the delight of our destiny. The pressing issues of pseudo importance can impact our influence and render us impotent. News Anchor Diane Sawyer recently posted, “I think the one lesson I have learned is that there is no substitute for paying attention.” God longs for us to be attentive to His leading. He desires that we listen to His still small voice, hold unto His helping hand and follow His guiding direction. The psalmist makes his own plea, “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” (Ps 25:4-5).
Be Appreciative. Paul reminds those who walk by faith, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess 5:18). When we are able to express appreciation for who we are, where we are, what we have and what have gone through . . . we shift our focus from our burdens to His blessings. Giving thanks guards our thinking from negative traps. Paul writes the enlightening words to the Christ-followers in Philippi, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7). God’s promised peace will guard and secure our hearts . . . what we feel . . . and, our minds . . . what we think.
What will capture your devotion, today? Criticizing or celebrating? Discouraging or encouraging. Tearing down or building up? Take a moment and give attention God’s presence and lift your heart with appreciation for His peace and power.