2Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer [life], being [both] alert and intent in [your praying] with thanksgiving. (AMP)
Paul asks the Colossians to devote themselves to prayer. One who is devoted is faithful, persistent, and persevering. In our devotion to prayer, we are instructed to stay alert in our praying by having an attitude of thanksgiving. As my dear friend Krysty (check out her blog), reminded me last night, praise and thanksgiving are an essential part of persevering prayer. The more we focus on praising God, the more devoted and faithful we become.
Hannah is such a beautiful example of devoted prayer. Pause a moment and take a few seconds to read through her prayer of exultation, it’s truly amazing (1 Samuel 2:1-10), or even pop over to biblegateway.com and click on “passage lookup“. What great things she says of God. Did you notice how she gracefully overlooks the gift and praises the giver? How often we forget the giver and focus our attention only on the gift. Matthew Henry says, “Every stream should lead us to the fountain; and the favors we receive from God should raise our admiration of the infinite perfections there are in God.”
Sometimes it’s hard to pray. Sometimes we just don’t feel like it. Sometimes we rather just escape, whether we “veg” in front of the TV, get lost in a book, or maybe take a nap. Sometimes we grow weary in praying for the same things over, and over, and over again. What then? May I humbly suggest that we wait quietly before God. Maybe we tell Him how cold and prayerless our hearts our, then look up to Him, trust Him, and expect Him to send the Holy Spirit to warm us up. I have a feeling that it won’t be long before the glow of the Holy Spirit’s presence will fill our hearts. Before long, we will begin to pray with freedom, directness, earnestness, and power.
In my experience, I am coming to learn that the blessings of such persevering prayer are unspeakable. There is nothing so heart-searching as the prayer of faith. “Honest talk” has taught me to discover and confess, which ultimately helps me let go of that which hinders the coming of blessings. It also reminds me to ask to see anything that may not be in accordance with His will. It has led me to closer fellowship with Him as he offers me guidance in how to pray. It’s a kind of friendship talk that comes as naturally as breathing. Did it happen overnight? Nope. Like many things, it happens over time, with persistence and consistency.
David was a man after God’s own heart, and his psalms are full of praises. My challenge to you today is to pray with him this prayer of gratitude, and perhaps write one of your own in your journal (you can do it!) God loves you and is so proud of you.
8 But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.
9 I will praise you forever for what you have done;
in your name I will hope, for your name is good.
I will praise you in the presence of your saints.