2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.
All believers are here commanded to pray with earnest perseverance. The Greek word translated as “continue” (proskarteré?) has the idea of “to continue to do something with intense effort, even with the possibility of difficulties along the way, until one has brought it to the wished-for end”. Firstly, our prayers must be earnest before God. Prayer should never be perfunctory. A casual or superficial attitude in prayer is akin to being irreverent before God. An indifferent heart in prayer is tantamount to mocking God’s holy and solemn presence. Wandering hearts and sleepy prayers are not befitting the majestic presence of our gracious God. Secondly, there must be devoutness and commitment to prayer. Jesus said, “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint”. Not that we are to be always on our knees, but that the spirit of prayer should never be laid aside. We must have a prayerful spirit all the time. We must also delight in frequent prayers, whether they be short or protracted prayers. God must be frequently sought, for He alone is our help.
Scripture records many examples of men and women who frequently prayed. In this chapter, the apostle mentions his co-labourer, Epaphras, as “always labouring fervently for you in prayers” (Colossians 4:12). Such constancy in prayer has been the secret of God’s servants who are Godhonouring. We must take care not to be drawn away from prayer by laziness, pleasure, business, etc.
We are also called unto watchfulness in prayer – “watch in the same”. The word rendered “watch” has the idea of “refrain from sleep”, “stay awake”, “be alert”, “be vigilant”. When physical tiredness and sleepiness prevented Peter, James and John from being awakened unto prayer, Jesus rebuked them: “What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:40-41). Even physical fatigue is not a satisfactory excuse for failing in prayer. Christians must be awake unto the pressing matters of life and ministry, so as to bring them to God in prayer.
Whenever we pray, we must not fail to be thankful towards God. We are more prone to ask or complain than to give thanks. When we pray, we must be grateful for the blessings already granted and for the promises He has given unto us. Beware: ungrateful men are not fit to pray.