I am of the opinion that the way we pray is a very personal way to communicate to God, and each of us has our own unique way. I’m also of the belief that there is no right or wrong way. There is no protocol, nor formality of any kind. The conversation can be in whatever form you want it to be. Just in thought, spoken, or written.
So what happens after prayer? What are we to do? Waiting patiently isn’t among my strong points, but that is exactly the aftermath of a prayer…wait…and watch. But being watchful doesn’t mean that we literally focus on something and watch and wait for changes to happen…but I think that is often the thought. Being watchful is an attitude and including God in everything we do so that we can see the changes that He uses to transform us.
In looking at Colossians 4:2, and looking at three different versions, I found the title to this verse very interesting, and each one very different. First, my personal favorite of the NIV:
Further Instructions 2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Next, a version I am coming to appreciate more and more, The Message (verses 2-4)
Pray for Open Doors 2-4 Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. Don’t forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the mystery of Christ, even while I’m locked up in this jail. Pray that every time I open my mouth I’ll be able to make Christ plain as day to them.
I can just picture Paul praying this…and talk about watching. With all that time on his hands while in jail, all he could do was watch and wait. An amazing inspiration of what it truly means to pray and watch.
Finally, let’s look at a version I don’t reference much, New King James
Christian Graces 2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.
I love the three different headings from the different versions: Further Instructions, Pray for open doors, and Christian Graces. All of these requiring watching. Let’s look a little bit at how.
Further instructions: You cannot proceed without knowing the next step, and if you don’t watch for that next step, well, you will miss it. Further instructions allow us to continue to move forward in our walk with Christ.
Pray for Open Doors: Well, considering you cannot walk through a closed door without hurting yourself, you have to watch for the door to be opened, and then take that leap of faith and go through it. An open door does us no good if we don’t proceed to the other side, even in the scariness of it all.
Christian Graces: Simply the honor of approaching God with our requests and watching for the result to happen, with some grace of course.
I am currently in a watchful season. Yes, I have a lot of prayer requests I send up, and the hardest part is the waiting, but all things happen on God’s time, not mine. But I will remember the significance of prayer and watching, as I get further instruction on those open doors that I walk through with Christian grace.
I leave you today with probably one of the most recognized prayers Jesus ever spoke, and probably the very first one I ever learned. The Lord’s Prayer. I leave you with the version I never thought I knew…The New King James Version. However, here is a link to read 5 different versions at once. Amazing to read these side by side.
More thoughts on prayer later on this week. Stay strong, pray, and remember to keep watch!
So He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.”
~ Luke 11:1-4 (NKJV)