(Colossians 4:2, NLT) Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.
I will be the first to admit that my prayer life is not always what it could or should be, according to the word of God. I don’t always take enough time to actually commune with Him, and I don’t do it as often as I should. Worse still, when I am busy, or depressed, or frustrated with life, I find myself putting this most important part of my day off until the very end. I lie in bed and I offer up what’s left of me from the day, listing off requests and sometimes even falling asleep in the midst of my internal ramblings. In all honesty, this isn’t prayer, is it? These “prayers” are, at best, Cain offerings — and they’re not fit to bring before the King of Majesty.
I confess this to you today, because I think I am probably not alone in it. Look, we all have our failures and struggles, and there are parts of our spiritual lives that must be developed over time. Prayer isn’t something that we just instinctively know how to do, or even something that we are born with the wisdom of knowing how important it is to our lives. Prayer is a discipline. It is a careful balance of speaking and listening, it is a time of communication with God — both mentally and spiritually, and it is an act of sacrifice unto Him. When we make time for it, we are giving up our own plans and schedules to show our Heavenly Father that He matters — that He comes first. We must become devoted to our prayer lives.
Think for a minute about what that word devoted truly means. When you are devoted to something, you’re not doing it sometimes or rarely. You’re not thinking of it at the end of the day when you’re too mentally and physically spent to give it your best. When you’re devoted to something or someone, it is a top priority. You make time for it. You give of yourself, and your resources, to ensure that it is an integral part of your life.
Do you remember your first love? The way it felt to wake up each morning just longing to hear his/her voice and anticipating that moment when you got to see this precious person again… The way it felt to want to be in his/her presence every moment you got the chance, and it just never seemed to be enough…
Whenever I hear the word devoted my mind instantly goes to the song from the movie Grease, “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” I can just hear Olivia Newton John singing it now…as she, or Sandy, pines for Danny…tossing pages of a love letter to him into a backyard kiddie pool. She’s singing of her devotion to him — about how she’s not going to give up on her love for him. That’s young love though…hopelessly devoted…you just can’t help yourself!
We have to return to this kind of love in our relationship with Christ. If we are not careful, our love for Him becomes muted by our lives. We begin to forget that initial excitement…that joy of our salvation. It doesn’t mean that our faith is dead, or that our works are void. It simply means that we have to change things up a little and recall that first love for Him. Like any relationship, it takes dedication and work, and the only thing that will inspire us to do so is our devotion to Him. We have to be hopelessly devoted to Jesus. When we make efforts to pour out our best at His feet, that is when we come alive again — when that stirring in our hearts begins to awaken once more. So when Paul wrote that we must be devoted, coming to the Father with alert minds and thankful hearts, he is gently reminding us that we owe God our best. Our Lord deserves to have our attention, don’t you think? If we can give our attentions to Netflix, to our families, to Facebook, to our jobs, to our friends, and to our hobbies, then surely there is a chunk of each day that can be devoted to Him and to Him alone. Just something to consider…
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I need your forgiveness, because I have not always been fully devoted to You in my prayer life. Sometimes I lose track of what is most important to the life and breath of my soul. Thank You, Lord, for this most timely reminder! You deserve my best. Amen.