keeping alert in it with thanksgiving.
Paul writes about prayer constantly in his letters, and he undoubtedly spent a lot of time praying. For Paul the life in Christ begins with prayer. Prayer means making the mind attentive to God; prayer includes gratitude for what's been given. This passage is like Paul's mantra: pray always, pay attention, be grateful. This is crucial to understanding how Paul proceeded in the world.
I believe all of us can find great strength in walking the path that Paul has set before us. It's often said that others can tell a lot about us by the company we keep. In prayer, we begin to close the gap between the greatest of these saints and ourselves, we enter their company, and we're blessed to be among them.