Colossians 4:2 says, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Paul directly asks us to do these two things in prayer. The first thing is to be watchful. Interesting how he phrases that in present progressive tense which means “being watchful” not just once—all the time—being watchful for what God wants to do.
So, what are we watching for? Well I think there are three things the Lord has impressed on me that I need to be watchful for. First of all, His assignments for me. What is it that He’s specifically asking me to do? And when He asks me to do it, am I going to be obedient? Sometimes those assignments are very easy. They’re in job descriptions or in directives from my board of trustees. Often God uses my wife to give me assignments. But other times it’s simply through the still voice of the Holy Spirit, the small voice that whispers, “Pray for that person. Talk to that person. Go this way to work instead of the other way.”
Second: we’re to be watchful that the Evil One hasn’t corrupted our thinking about God, or planted things that will be destructive to the purity of who God is. Therefore, we are to be watchful in prayer in order to banish sin and the Evil One from our lives.
The third thing I think we need to be watchful for is places where God has called us to advance the Kingdom. It may be by going to a special rally, or a special church service, or maybe God has called you to pray and to fast, or to pray over a building or a city or a geographic location. God calls us to be watchful for what He’s doing and to watch for where He might be placing you to help the Kingdom.
Finally, Paul says to be thankful. When you’re focused on being thankful that God is God and can do what He wants to do, it’s hard to carry a grudge, or to be angry, or to be involved in self-pity. So, let’s practice these things in prayer.