“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
Colossians 4:2 ESV
Even though most of us pray, we’d also readily admit that it’s an area of struggle. Even though we pray, we go through dry spells, where prayer is infrequent at best. And, as we pray, our attitude is often not what it should be.
Prayer, for many of us, is merely an obligation. It’s nothing more than an item to check off of our to-do list for the day. Knowing that God desires that we pray, and knowing that he’s called us to pray, we reluctantly give ourselves over to it.
Prayer, for many of us, also tends to be offered up as an act of wishful thinking. Although we certainly desire the things for which we ask, we are not confident that God will answer our prayer. In fact, we tend to believe that the odds of God answering our prayer are about equal to those of us winning the lottery.
However, although it’s true that God desires that we should pray, and although it’s true that we’re called to prayer, we’re called to do so with a very different attitude than that which I’ve just described. Prayer is to be not to be a chore or an obligation. Nor is it to be an act of wishful thinking.
We see this in the above passage where we’re called to continue steadfastly in prayer. We’re called to be devoted to prayer. In other words, it’s not to be infrequent. It’s to be regular. It’s to be something to which we’re loyal and dedicated. It’s to be something with which we busy ourselves.
We’re called also to offer up our prayers with an attitude of faith. And this is very different from wishful thinking. We certainly desire those things for which we pray. However, we do not doubt that the Lord will answer our prayer. We fully trust that he will.
We see this as we’re told to be watchful in prayer with thanksgiving. Knowing that God has heard our prayer, and believing that he will answer it, we eagerly expect his blessing. We confidently expect that he will supply our need, just as he’s promised. And, for this reason, we’re able to have an attitude of thanksgiving before God has even answered our prayer. We’re able to thank God for his answer to our prayer which we know we’ll receive.