Colossians 4:2 commands us: “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” The word rendered “devote” is “proskartereo”, which Thayer’s lexicon translates, “persevere”, “give constant attention to”, “continue” in. This seems to indicate that the Colossians were already praying, but that they should guard themselves against the danger of being distracted from it. So should we!
“Keeping alert”, the second verb in the verse, gives a picture of our responsibility in prayer: watching out for ourselves; for those we care about; for our church. It is a duty which calls for our utmost faithfulness. In John 17:12 Jesus said, “While I was with them I was keeping them in the name which You have given Me, and I guarded them …”. Jesus took seriously His role of “guarding” His disciples in prayer — and we should take our responsibilities in intercession seriously too.
It can be easy to say of a regular prayer request for a loved one: “Well, I pray for them every day/week; surely it can’t be that big a deal if I miss it today.” But this is JUST what this verse is warning us against! CONTINUE in prayer! Like a watchman during war time, “persevere” in your intercessions. Do not shirk your responsibilities to intercede for your family, your church, and the missionaries and other kingdom workers which have been entrusted to you. Be able to say of those entrusted to your care in prayer: “I guarded them.” Of all of your regular duties, there is none more important!