WATCH AND PRAY WITH THANKSGIVING
Colossians 4:2-4 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
On three separate occasions, Jesus gave this warning, Watch and pray. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus was speaking to the three apostles, Peter and the sons of Zebedee, James and John, that accompanied Him, as He went into the garden of Gethsemane to pray. Because of their human frailty, they slept instead of being alert and watchful. Returning and finding them asleep, Jesus admonished them to watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation (Matt. 26:41). In the references found in Mark and Luke, Jesus, speaking of His second coming, warns His disciples to take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is (Mark 13:33) . He also told us in Mark to Take heed lest any man deceive you (Mark 13:5). Watching and praying can avoid being deceived by false teachers. He summed up this warning by saying, and what I say unto you I say unto all, watch (Mark 13:37). On the occasion noted by Luke, Jesus exhorts His disciples to watch ye therefore, and pray always (Luke 21:36).
As Christians, we should always be thankful to God for the hope of salvation found in His Son, Jesus Christ. Realizing that salvation is assured only to obedient children of God, and knowing that it can be lost, we are admonished, in the lesson text, to watch and pray! Paul told the Corinthian Christians not to act like (worldy) men, but to stand fast in the faith, ...be strong. Watch ye (1 Cor. 16:13)! To watch means to be vigilant, awake, and alert. Knowing that we could be led astray by the deceitfulness of Satan, we are always to be on guard, always resisting the temptations of worldliness, and the error of false teachers.
Prayer, to the Christian, is not meant to be occasional or spurious. In the parable of the persistent widow, Jesus taught that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (Luke 18:1). The apostle Paul taught the Roman Christians to continue instant in prayer (Rom. 12:12b). To the Ephesian church he admonished them to overcome wickedness by wearing the whole armor of God,and in always praying (Eph. 6:13-18). To the church at Philippi Paul wrote, be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God (Phil. 4:6). He gave this short, but very strong message, to the children of God at Thessalonica, pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17).
In order to develop a strong family relationship, husbands and wives must communicate with each other, children with their siblings, and parents with their children. This same spiritual family relationship is desired - even required of all Christians, between you and your Heavenly Father. The only way this spiritual relationship can be made strong, and continued, is through prayer. Prayer is the only way we can communicate with God. He wants us to always confide in Him, in all things, and at all times. The passages cited above, as well as numerous others noted throughout the bible, firmly establish that God wants a close relationship with each of His children. He wants each of us to trust, and depend, on Him. God does not desire the things you have; He does not need them. He wants to be your Father, and He wants you to be His child - God wants you!
A Christian life without prayer is sinful. Without prayer, we must bear all of the burdens of life. God has never intended that His children were to bear all of their burdens alone. He has promised to lift your burdens; they will be much lighter and easier to bear, if you cast all your care upon Him (1 Pet. 5:7). The heavy loads of life can become wearisome. Jesus said, come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28). The avenue, that we come to God, is in prayer through Jesus. Without prayer, burdens are too heavy and we become discouraged. Discouragement brings doubt, faith wanes, and the hope of eternal life is threatened.Without faith it is impossible to please Him (God) (Heb. 11:6). Without a close relationship with God, the burdens of life become weariness, and discouragement lead to unbelief, departure from God, and from the church of His Son, Jesus Christ (See Heb. 3:12).
Give serious consideration to Paul's warning - Watch and Pray with Thanksgiving! (Some thoughts in this lesson were taken from an article that appeared in Truth Magazine, July 1, 2004, as submitted by Brian Anderson).