[blockquote source=”Colossians 4:2 (NLT)“]Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.[/blockquote]

What’s the first thing you do when you get up? Do you check (a) Facebook, (b) emails, or (c) favorite websites?

I’m not pointing fingers here as this is what I do too.

We can’t help it as some of us want to connect with our friends. Some of us want to ensure that any form of correspondence get answered promptly. Some of us just want to check the statistics of our blog to see who dropped by.

But in truth, what we should do is to devote ourselves to prayer. And Jesus gave us a really good example in this verse:

Mark 1:35 In the morning, long before sunrise, Jesus went to a place where he could be alone to pray.

Here’s what I do during my morning ritual:

  • Get up at 4.30am
  • Pray to the LORD before reading the Bible
  • Read the Bible
  • Underline the verse(s) that resonates with me
  • Research for its commentary
  • Write my own devotions

This is my way to devote myself to prayer. In addition, at the end of writing my devotions I would pray.

In the past, I’ve always struggled with what to say during prayer. In fact, this verse tells us very clearly. Pray with a thankful heart. A thankful heart is not only just an expression of gratitude but it is also an attitude of repentance.

When one is prideful, one cannot be grateful. Only when one is humbled and comes to God with the right attitude of repentance, he will be able to express a sense of gratitude.

The other important element here is the state of mind when we pray. How should we prepare our state of mind when we pray?

Being alert means having the three “sights”:

  • Hindsight: our hindsight should be based on the state of mind of gratitude – to be grateful for all that had happened; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes this will also humble us and enable us to see and appreciate God’s work in our lives in the past
  • Insight: when we pray and as we reflect upon God’s word, we want to seek the deeper insights and not just read passively. We need to understand what is God revealing to us. What can we learn so that we can live out the principles therein
  • Foresight: we also need to have an end in mind when we pray. This does not mean just our worldly goals. This is where we must be clear of God’s purpose for us. This is where we want to be able to project ourselves into the end desired state and pray from that state of mind, as if we have already achieved that purpose

Most importantly of all, we need faith when we are praying. We have to, very fundamentally, believe and expect that God will answer our prayers.

Dear God, please forgive me as I wanted sleep more than my daily time with You. I have allowed the flesh to dictate my actions where I should defeat its desires. Dear God, I thank You for all that has happened in my life and for the experiences that I have gone through. I may not understand why but I have faith that these were meant to not only shape me but also to build me up. LORD, I pray that You guide me moving forward in this mission as well as in my daily workings where I build my family, build myself to serve the people, schools, and communities. Dear LORD, Your purpose for me is what’s most important to me. I want to fulfill that but will need strength, courage, and wisdom to see me through. LORD, in Jesus precious name I pray, Amen.

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