Colossians 4:2-5, 12-13 Word Studies

          Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned;  that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. 
         Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. For I testify for him that he has a deep concern for you and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis. 
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Col 4:2–5). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

DEVOTE

 proskartereo /pros·kar·ter·eh·o/ (pro=towards [used intensively] kartereo=tobe strong, to endure in, persevere in, continually steadfast with a person or thing)

to adhere to one, to be constant to one, give unremitting care to, persevere and not faint. 

Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

Zodhiates - to endure, tarry, remain somewhere, to continue steadfastly, continually insist, steadfastness and faithfulness.

Present Active Imperative Tense = continuous, subject produces action.

Jesus himself prays similarly, e.g., when in nightlong prayer he brings his decisions before God. He directs his disciples to pray in this way (Lk. 11:1ff.) and to persist in prayer (Lk. 18:1ff.), not just observing set times, but enjoying continuing fellowship with God in the obedience and confidence of children. The apostles accept this as part of their primary task in Acts 6:4, and the community as a whole devotes itself to teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer in Acts 2:42. Apostolic exhortations to persistence in prayer occur in Rom. 12:12 and Col. 4:2.
Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1985). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 417). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.

Possible questions leading to an I WILL (follow through): 

Am I devoted to prayer? Am I persistent in the way that Jesus directed His disciples to pray? How can I put into practice?

KEEPING ALERT 

1127 γρηγορέω [gregoreuo /gray·gor·yoo·o/] v. From 1453; TDNT 2:338; TDNTA 195; GK 1213; 23 occurrences; AV translates as “watch” 21 times, “wake” once, and “be vigilant” once. 1 to watch. 2 metaph. give strict attention to, be cautious, active.
Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

grēgoréō (agrypnéō).
1. This has the literal sense “to watch” in Mk. 14:34; 24:43; Lk. 12:37.
2. It has the figurative sense “to be vigilant” (especially in relation to the parousia)   p 196  in Mt 24:42; Mk 13:35; 1 Th. 5:6; Rev. 3:3, linked with sobriety in 1 Th. 5:6, prayer in Mk. 14:38; Col. 4:2, concern for salvation in Acts 20:31. agrypnéō (only figurative) is used similarly in Mk. 13:33. Lk. 21:36; Eph. 6:18; Heb. 13:17.
Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1985). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (pp. 195–196). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.

The duty of alertness as opposed to a slack or sleepy spirit is proclaimed in 1 Cor. 16:13; Col. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:6; 1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 3:2, 3; 16:15. In 1 Thess. 5:6 and 1 Pet. 5:8,

Watchfulness or watching indicates that the Christian is alert or vigilant in order to defend himself against a spiritual foe. He is properly prepared for any surprise or sudden change in his circumstances, and above all, in order that his fellowship with God in prayer may be undistracted and efficacious.
Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

Present Active Participle = refers to an action that is currently taking place or which takes place repeatedly. (http://www.alphadictionary.com/rusgrammar/presact.html)

LABORING EARNESTLY

75 ἀγωνίζομαι [agonizomai /ag·o·nid·zom·ahee/] v. From 73; TDNT 1:135; TDNTA 20; GK 76; Seven occurrences; AV translates as “strive” three times, “fight” three times, and “labour fervently” once. 1 to enter a contest: contend in the gymnastic games. 2 to contend with adversaries, fight. 3 metaph. to contend, struggle, with difficulties and dangers. 4 to endeavour with strenuous zeal, strive: to obtain something.
Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

75. ἀγωνίζομαι agōnízomai; fut. agonísomai, mid. deponent from agṓn (73), conflict. To contend for victory in the public games (1 Cor. 9:25). It generally came to mean to fight, wrestle (John 18:36). Figuratively, it is the task of faith in persevering amid temptation and opposition (1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7). It also came to mean to take pains, to wrestle as in an award contest, straining every nerve to the uttermost towards the goal (Luke 13:24 [cf. 1 Cor. 9:25; Phil. 3:12ff.; Heb. 4:1]). Special pains and toil (Col. 1:29; Col. 4:12). Implies hindrances in the development of the Christian life.
Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

B. agṓn, agōnízomai in the NT.
a. Striving for the goal is the first thought here (Lk. 13:24). Exertion (1 Th. 2:2) and a concentration of forces (Col. 1:29; cf. 2 Tim. 4:7–8) are both necessary.
b. Striving also calls for denial (1 Cor. 9:25), the setting aside of provisional ends (1 Cor. 9:27). This is not asceticism but athletic discipline (2 Tim. 4:5). It is not contempt for the world but a right ordering of priorities.
c. Little reference is made to antagonists, but obstacles and dangers have to be faced (cf. 1 Th. 2:2; 2 Cor. 7:5; Jude 3).
d. Martyrdom is the final conflict (cf. 2 Tim. 4:6; Heb. 10ff.)
e. The goal is not just our salvation but that of others too (Col. 1:29–30). Paul struggles “for” the church (Col. 2:1–2; cf. 4:12–13). Prayer is crucial here (Col. 4; Rom. 15). So is unity in the Spirit (Phil. 1:27ff.). The gospel brings conflict to the entire Christian life, but as we pray and stand together the sign of the cross is a sign of victory.
C. agṓn, agōnízomai in the Early Church. Pauline ideas recur in 1 Clement. Barnabas summons us to conflict (4.11). 2 Clement depicts the contest in the arena (7). Martyrdom and asceticism are later the leading forms of conflict, especially martyrdom (Tertullian To the Martyrs 3).
Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1985). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 21). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.

Ok, these quotes from above really hit me:

"Striving also calls for denial (1 Cor. 9:25), the setting aside of provisional ends (1 Cor. 9:27). This is not asceticism but athletic discipline (2 Tim. 4:5). It is not contempt for the world but a right ordering of priorities."

"The goal is not just our salvation but that of others too (Col. 1:29–30). Paul struggles “for” the church (Col. 2:1–2; cf. 4:12–13). Prayer is crucial here (Col. 4; Rom. 15)." 

I WILL QUESTIONS:

Could I devote myself to prayer and labor earnestly like an Olympic athlete? Could I have a "right ordering of priorities"?

Also, the goal is not our salvation - struggling in prayer on behalf of others. And praying for those who have never heard who do not even know enough to pray for themselves. 
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