We recently talked about our devotion
to prayer. So in this article, I want to build upon
those thoughts and talk about keeping alert in prayer.
Pray To Stay Alert
We keep alert in prayer, and on guard against the deception
- "With all prayer and petition pray at all
times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be
on the alert with all perseverance and petition
for all the saints" (Eph. 6:18).
- "Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping
alert in it . . ." (Col. 4:2).
"Alert" means to be ready, watching so that a calamitous
tragedy doesn't overtake us.
So we pray, asking God to help us be on guard against
sin, so we overcome the schemes of the devil, and no
one takes us captive through philosophy and empty deception
(Eph. 6:11; Col. 2:8).
Alert in Prayer, with Thanksgiving
To keep alert in prayer, we must have an attitude of
thanksgiving. Any other attitude won't result in alertness
- "Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert
in it with an attitude of thanksgiving" (Col.
Our attitude of thanksgiving is expressed in several
ways, but most importantly in the words of our prayers.
We thank God when we pray, like Jesus who thanked
God when He prayed before raising Lazarus from the dead.
- "So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His
eyes, and said, 'Father, I thank You that You
have heard Me'" (Jn. 11:41).
Just like the old hymn says:
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done.
Example: The Model Prayer
When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He gave them
a model prayer (Matt. 6:9-13).
In the prayer, Jesus taught them to give thanks, praying
that God would deliver them from evil, rather than leading
them into temptation.
By praying this way we remain alert, on guard against
Satan and the deception of sin, as we look for the way
of escape God provides when we're tempted (1 Cor. 10:13).
Example: Apostles in Gethsemane
The evening He was arrested, Jesus told Peter, James,
and John to keep watch with Him. Then Jesus stepped
away from them and prayed.
When He returned, Jesus found the apostles sleeping,
and said to Peter, "'So, you men could not keep watch
with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that
you may not enter into temptation; . . . '" (Matt. 26:40-41).
Notice that the purpose of watching and praying was
to stay alert, and not enter into temptation.
Today, we watch and pray to stay alert, just like
the apostles in the garden.
As a favorite hymn says:
Watch and pray, watch and pray,
For we know not the hour when the Lord shall come:
Watch and pray, watch and pray,
And be ready to enter the soul's bright home.
Areas of Alertness
We need to focus our prayers on several areas of life
to stay alert.
Here are some suggestions:
- Lk. 22:40, 46 Pray that you don't enter
- Acts 20:29-31a Pray that false teachers
and false doctrines don't overtake you.
- 1 Cor. 16:13 Pray that you remain strong
and steadfast in the faith.
- 1 Th. 5:16 Pray that you remain sober, and
don't spiritually fall sleep.
- 1 Pet. 5:18 Pray that you're alert, watching
for Satan, his schemes, and his deceptions.
- Matt. 25:13 Pray that you're alert, watching
for Christ's coming.
Because we're serious about our struggle against the
forces of darkness and wickedness, we pray about our
spiritual fight. And as a result, we stay alert.
How serious do you take your struggle against Satan
Do you take it serious enough to devote yourself to
prayer, and stay alert?
Are you on guard against Satan and sin?
Are you ready to die, and for Christ's return?