Prayer: Attitude Surmounts Platitude

James 5:16b The prayer of a righteous (woman) is powerful and effective.

My husband, Scott, became a Christian when he was forty years old. He was full grown yet becoming new in every aspect of his life and character. I'll never forget when he first began to pray out loud in front of myself and the children. His prayers were simple, heartfelt and totally sincere. He had never been "trained" in the proper format or Christian vernacular. He simply prayed from his heart overflowing with gratitude for all God had done to transform his life.

Within months of our marriage, we faced our first big trial. As Hayleigh (then 6) and I discussed the situation, she said, "Mommy, what we need to do is get Daddy to pray. When he prays, God listens." Scott's devotion in prayer was evident even to a small child. His prayers were powerful and effective.

Today I am reading the final chapter of Colossians. Here Paul updates the church on the happenings and whereabouts of many Christians as well as offering greetings to and from essential members of church. The word that most stands out in this passage is prayer. Paul uses four words to describe prayer that can take the most ineffective prayer life and super-charge it into one that is both powerful and effective.
  • Devoted (Verse 2) - Paul advises the Colossians to be devoted to prayer. Far more than the passing utterance over a meal or the sentence plea over traveling safety is a prayer life that could be classified as devoted. To be devoted to something requires prioritization and concentration of both time and energy.
  • Watchful (Verse 2) - I don't know about you but for me sleep is often the close kinsman to prayer. One moment I'm pouring my heart out to God and the next I'm paying homage to the Sandman. A watchful prayer life is one that is alert and aware. Like the soldier guarding our safety through the long hours of the night is the Christian who takes time to cover their church, community, home and family in prayer. The alert saint is one whose prayer list grows daily as even the smallest matter is brought before the Lord.
  • Thankful (Verse 2) - Prayer provides us with the greatest outlet to praise God for who He is and His work in our lives. I recently heard a sweet young woman in my church tell how God transformed her heart as a teenager from grumpy to gracious as she built the daily habit in her life of recording God's activity and thanking Him for it. It is far easier to pray with passion and purpose when I'm acknowledging all the ways God has shown up in my life. From the front row parking spot during a rain storm to the smile of a passing stranger, God's grace is showered on each of us every day.

Jesus, thank you for the privilege of prayer. Today I will be devoted, watchful and thankful as I bathe my little corner of the world in prayer. Wherever I go and whatever I do today may I look for You and talk to You about everything I see and experience.

1 comment:

  1. As usual Shannon, something that I needed to hear! Great job, and thank you for the reminder to be sincere and undistracted in prayer. It is far too easy to fall into a routine in your prayer life, and if should never be anything like that when we are in the presence of God!


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