Being the National Day of Prayer, this seems appropriate today. The NDP always sneaks up on me, especially this year being so soon after Easter. I almost always forget to plan for it. Usually I have a 12 to 24 hour prayer chain going on at church, but not so this year. I don’t have that kind of pull where I am now.
This verse does stand by itself in the text of Colossians. It precedes a more general instruction to pray for Paul as he is facing public trials while in prison. We assume this is written while he is in prison in Caesarea (but possibly Rome). Because of this independence in the text, we can treat it by itself.
Paul recommends to these Colossians that they need to decor themselves in prayer. In that, to stay alert in prayer, and to include thanksgiving as part of that alertness. So, being alert for opportunities to be thankful to God.
The idea of being alert in prayer seems an odd juxtaposition. If anything, Prayer takes me away from the concerns of the moment and offers a respite from the pull of the world. I usually close my eyes in prayer. That is not a position of alertness.
So what is Paul talking about here? There a couple of possibilities.
First, that Paul is calling for a posture of alertness while in prayer. To be aware of your surroundings and those around you. Don’t let Prayer be an opportunity to be caught unaware. So, pray with your eyes open.
Second, always be alert for opportunities to pray, especially to be thankful. Make prayer a priority in your daily walk. Pray when you get up and when you lie down and as you go about your daily life. Always be looking for reasons to pray, and pray often.
A possible third may be this: Be aware of when your prayer life is faltering and don’t let prayer get away from you. Always be alert to the condition of your prayer life.
As Christians, we ought to follow this command, for this holds true for all, not just the believers at Collosae. God be with you today as you stay alert in prayer.