Watchful Prayers and Grizzly Bears

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:1

Last week our family returned from an extended vacation aboard a 31 ft. Winnebago. Before the summer madness began, we rented the RV and drove it across the country. Our destination was Anchorage, Alaska via the Alcan Highway. Along the way, we saw many wonders of God’s creation and experienced the vastness of wide open land.

As we traveled, a pattern began to develop and we realized the Lord was at work and wanted us to pay attention. You see, we left with a general itinerary and a preferred route we wanted to take. We would make a plan for the day and watch it unfold, usually in a different way. Proverbs 16:9 kept coming to mind “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

Each day, the Lord would surprise us with something profound and unexpected. It was as if He was showing off, delighting in displaying his creative power and generous provision. So much so we began thinking of all the things we wanted to see and would pray for the Lord to show us. Then we would watch expectantly as he showed us more than what we even asked for. Buffalo fighting, moose with twins, bald eagles over the ocean, big horn sheep head-butting, Elk herds, caribou crossing the road, grizzly swimming the river, orca whale behind our boat, humpback whale spraying water and halibut on a hook. We even asked to see Mount Denali, which had been covered in clouds for a week. As we drove through the park, sure enough, the clouds opened up and there it was towering twenty thousand feet above sea level.

Once, we were driving towards Lake Louise in Canada and prayed for the Lord to provide a spot at the campground. It was a holiday weekend and the place was booked solid. We went anyway. As we approached the ranger station, someone called and canceled their reservation. We pulled up, booked the site and drove right in. The same story kept happening over and over throughout the trip. I realized through it all, that back home in my daily life, I had forgotten what it was like to pray expectantly, “to be watchful in it with thanksgiving.” My prayer life had become flat and rote and not the least bit exciting.

As Paul brings his letter to the Colossians to a close, he exhorts the church to continue steadfastly in prayer, but with the caveat that we do so with watchfulness and thanksgiving. As the Lord answers our prayers, we return gratitude and excitement that he not only hears us but also loves to direct us to what brings him the most glory, wowing us with his power and provision.

I’m thankful for time away with family, but I am even more thankful that the Lord is always at work drawing us into a deeper understanding of His love for us, even as we bump down the road in a Winnebago.

How about your prayer life? Do you pray with an expectation that God takes great joy in answering your prayers? What are you not bringing before Him? I encourage you to stop what you’re doing and go before the Lord with steadfast prayers, being watchful in it with thanksgiving!

 

Author: Rev. Wes Andrews

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