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Devoted To Prayer

Colossians 4:2
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (NIV)

Prayer is good; very good. The idea of talking to God, pouring out the inner cries of our hearts, exposing our souls to His Divine scrutiny, seeking His will and purpose for our lives, and giving undiluted time to being with Him ... all that is a right and true ambition. Of all the beautiful things of this life, prayer surpasses them all. Like a baby content with its mother, and a farmer delighted with harvest, so the believer is satisfied in the presence of God.
But the idea of praying is not prayer; any more than the thought of having a successful business is a profit. Millions of sermons have been preached about prayer, and thousands of books written to encourage prayer. And no Christian would deny that prayer is important. But devoting ourselves to prayer is a different matter. Devotion involves a cascade of deliberate choices, and every positive decision means the rejection of other possibilities. So when we are praying we cannot be focussed on anything or anyone else. Prayer is exclusive. Prayer is also highly relational, an intimate conversation with our Maker and Saviour. Therefore, those who truly pray cannot be casual ... indeed they cannot stop praying (Colossians 1:9).
Devoted prayer is not a fashion, a whim to amuse us or an emergency panic button. It is a lifestyle choice. It is more than requests, thanks and even confession (although prayer includes all these); prayer is the outcome of a rigorous determination to be so close to God that nothing else has priority. But how can that work in a busy life? Simple: choose to start each day with the Lord, reading His Word and discussing with Him how to do it. Then, at every decision point of the day involve Him; ask Him for His wisdom. In every conversation listen to the other person and ask the Lord what is true, and how to respond. Everything good comes from His hand, so thank Him. Everything bad is under His control already, so praise Him for His future provision. A decision to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) is good; now it needs to be put into practice every day.

Loving Lord God. Thank You for allowing me to speak directly to You through Jesus Christ. I want to enjoy Your Fatherly presence and to share all of my heart with You. I am sorry when I have chosen to replace the priority of prayer with my own self-glorifying ambitions and activities. Forgive me for insulting You in that way, and please teach me how to devote myself to prayer. Help me to move everything else to the background so that You can be in the foreground of my thinking and desires. Thank You for this challenge to reshape my life so that it consciously revolves around You. Help me to learn a fresh honesty with You in joy and sadness; and to seek a new purity in the way I live because I devote myself to You in prayer. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams