Alert, Thankful and Praying
Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.
Colossians 4:2 NLT
In this scripture, the apostle Paul is encouraging us to give priority to prayer in our lives. He gives us two challenges as part of the encouragement:
- Come to prayer with an alert mind
- Pray with a thankful heart
“Pay Attention!” From the parent’s correction to the coach or supervisor who is giving specific instruction, we have all been admonished to be focused and alert. It is important to approach life today with an alert mind. Staying focused on the right things is a real challenge and a needed opportunity for everyone to consider.
I have two black labs, Echo and Eclipse. They are at their best when they have a job to do. Right in the middle of a job, such as fetching, they become so easily distracted. “Squirrel” and they are off, completely distracted. My challenge is to keep them focused. Sometimes I have my own versions of “squirrel” where I am easily distracted. My mind and attention quickly drift from what is most important.
It is so easy to lose focus in prayer. My mind can wander. There is a need and challenge to be alert to God, to what He is saying to me in prayer. The opportunity to listen and share is incredible when our mind is focused on the conversation we are having with God.
Paul’s second challenge: Come to prayer with a thankful heart. Think about the opposite. It is hard to pray when one is grumpy or mad. In fact, it is hard to be much good to anyone when anger controls the moment. Paul writes from captivity. He has many reasons to be feeling unjustly treated. Yet, he writes these words about praying with a thankful heart.
People who have been hurt deeply often close up their spirit because of hurt. When expressions of gratitude start to be expressed, it is an indicator that the spirit of the person is opening up again. Think about that in prayer. When we are hurt, the tendency is to shut down and pull away from God. God invites us to come close, to bring our burdens to Him through Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit comforts. When this happens, we are flooded with gratitude.
Conversation with God flows better with a thankful heart. We are open to receiving what God has to share with us about our relationship with Him and our contribution to this world. He takes the deepest wounds and works healing and forgiveness.
Join me in praying with focus and gratitude for who God is and all He is doing.
-Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center