Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving. - Colossians 4:2
It is my prayer and hope for you that these past 40 days have been powerful and instructive. I hope you feel refreshed and closer to Jesus as you have spent day after day in prayer. I also hope this has given you a vision and a hunger for the life we are called into: a life devoted to prayer.
There are two halves to Colossians 4:2:
1. Devote yourselves to prayer.
Over these last 40 days you have tasted this. What are your thoughts and strategy for continuing a life devoted to prayer? If you have not yet thought about it, or if you do not have any ideas, let me suggest to you some things I have done.
“Draw the Circle” by Mark Batterson. This book is essentially a 40-day prayer challenge not unlike what we have just done together. It has 40 daily readings to help you think about God and prayer. I have done this book three times this year and I usually combine it with setting my watch alarm or phone alarm to go off at specific times each to remind me to stop and pray. I suggest 9am and 3pm, the times of the morning and evening sacrifices. They are times when so many significant things happen in the Bible. When Daniel prayed three times a day he prayed at 9am, noon, and 3pm.
“Morning and Evening” by Charles Haddon Spurgeon. This book has two readings a day for a year. It is full of classic, time-tested, Godly wisdom from this great preacher.
“Smith Wigglesworth Devotional”. This is a yearlong, one reading a day devotional with a much more charismatic flavour. Each day is dated for the calendar year.
Another idea is to go through this blog again over the next 40 days. Like I said, I have done the Mark Batterson book three times in a year and each time I got more out of it. I might do the same with this blog myself.
Again, my heart is that these last 40 days would merely be a beginning for you. A new beginning of a more consistent prayer filled life. What might your next step be? Make a plan and keep going!
2. Alert with thanksgiving.
What is it to be alert with thanksgiving? I think this has a bit to do with the disappointments that can come when you are living a life devoted to prayer; the disappointments and discouragements connected to seasons when it does not seem like God is doing anything. The times when you hoped, based on your prayers, that God would have spoken by now, or intervened by now, that God would have granted you more clarity or more direction. Disappointments can deflate our passion for prayer to the point where many simply stop praying for things.
Paul tells us to be alert with thanksgiving. Praying thank-filled prayers are the antidote for the discouraging times where it seems like your prayers are not being answered.
I have prayer requests that I have prayed for day and night, night and day for years and not seen any answers. Discouraging. Those requests often dominate and fill my prayer times. Sometimes I can get so discouraged by the lack of those prayers being answered I stop seeing all the amazing things God actually is doing. I have experienced seasons and years, that in my main and most urgent prayers, I saw no answers to those prayers. But at the same time in those seasons, our church saw more salvations than ever before (BY FAR), and more fruit than ever before. The antidote to my discouragement and disappointments in not seeing answers to my main prayers as quickly as I would have liked, was looking for what I can be thankful for.
Maybe you are ending these 40 days full of praise for God’s answering your clear and specific prayers which you wrote down all those weeks ago. I hope that is your story. If not, and you find yourself discouraged and disappointed, I encourage you to KEEP GOING. Also remember what is out there to be thankful for. God is doing things, can you see them?
Thankful prayers keep us alert to the enemy's schemes of discouragement so that we keep going when we feel more like giving up.
“Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving.”
Thank you for participating in these 40 days of prayer. May this be the beginning!