Colossians 4:2 (ESV) … “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
Paul has reminded believers that they are identified with an extraordinary Christ who has absolute supremacy. He has called believers (ordinary people) to live their ordinary lives in an extraordinary way. How is the believer to accomplish such a challenging assignment? Is assistance available? Yes. The believer is not alone in a world of temptation and deception. Strength and perspective are always available by looking above in prayer. Paul exhorts believers to pray with (1) diligence, (2) awareness, (3) gratitude.
Prayer should be done with diligence. Devote means “be busily engaged in,” persist in, or give constant attention.” Prayer in the believer’s life is not just an option for occasional emergencies. If believers are to withstand the constant pressures of a fallen and unfriendly world, an attitude of persistence and perseverance in prayer is needed.
Watchful literally means “stay awake” and refers to an attitude of being spiritually alert. Using the same term, Peter encouraged his readers to “be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8, emphasis added). Believers need to be alert because Satan wants to devour them. Colossians tells believers to be alert because false teachers want to deceive them. Believers need to be aware of the evil forces which seek to tantalize and capture them. If believers wish to be wide awake in their prayer life, the insight of C. S. Lewis can be helpful:
No one in his senses, if he has any power of ordering his own day, would reserve his chief prayers for bedtime—obviously the worst possible hour for any action which needs concentration.… My own plan, when hard pressed, is to seize any time, and place, however unsuitable, in preference to the last waking moment.… The body ought to pray as well as the head” (The Joyful Christian, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1977, 88–89).
Finally, Paul calls believers to thankful prayer. Believers who pray with gratitude for God’s blessing will be less likely to be led astray by the lures and lies of the enemy.