Matthew 24:44 states, “Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” 1Thessalonians 5:2 states, “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” How should we be ready for Christ’s return? In Part One, I explained why the New Testament writers thought the end was close. In Part Two, I explained how the Apostle Peter thought we are to suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ and how to complete our life’s race in victory. In this blog post, I will explain why you are to stay alert and sober-minded for the purpose of prayer until Christ’s return.
Why do we need to be sober-minded to pray?
1Peter 4:7 (NIV) states, The end of all things is near. Therefore, be alert (ESV says, be self-controlled; NAS says, be of sound judgment) and of sober mind so that you may pray. The Modern King James Version says, “But the end of all things has drawn near. Therefore, be of sound mind and be sensible to prayers.” A sober-minded person is rational and sensible; who can reason with sound judgment and good sense; thus, they understand and grasp the meaning of what to do. The reason we are to be sober-minded is so we can pray rationally and sensibly.
Ephesians 6:18 states, “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” The Apostle Paul told the Ephesian church to pray all the time and keep alert with perseverance as they petition God on behalf of fellow believers. First, how do you pray all the time? I learned to turn every thought into a prayer. When I think of someone, I pray for them. If I get anxious about something, I pray and give it to God. I ask God for the right thoughts to encourage someone. You get the idea. Praying all the time is a mental discipline, which is why you need to be self-controlled. It is easy to let your mind give in to a pleasurable temptation or complaining. When you are self-controlled, you take responsibility for your thoughts and choose the right views that please God. To learn how to have godly thoughts, read Victorious Thinking to Live a Successful Life and Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without.
Why does praying help us be ready for Christ’s return?
First, prayer keeps your mind on the things above where Christ is seated and not the worries and allurements of this world. Colossians 3:1-2 states, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Why should we not think about the things on the earth? Read What Will Cause You to Lose Your Inheritance. How do we keep our mind on the things above? Read How do you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness?
Second, prayer is how you abide with Christ Jesus so you can produce good fruit. John 15:5 states, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” And 1John 2:28 states, “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears, we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.” When you are abiding with Jesus then you won’t shrink back in shame when He comes back.
Third, prayer is how you stay submitted to God and remain alert to the devil’s temptations and oppression. 1Peter 5:8 states, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” And James 4:7-8 states, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Be alert and aware of when the devil is influencing your thoughts, if you have unholy thoughts, give them to God in prayer then dwell on His truth. You resist the devil through prayer and speaking the truth in the Word of God. To learn how Jesus is our example, read Matthew, chapter 4.
Fourth, prayer is a good way to hide God’s Word in our hearts, so we don’t sin. Psalm 119:11 and 15 states, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 15) I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.” Joshua 1:8 states, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Meditates means to think deeply about and ponder. When we pray the Word of God, we are meditating on them. I recommend writing a verse from your morning Bible reading and review it throughout the day and make it a part of your prayer. In Joshua 1:8, he says to be careful to do according to all that is written, and it comes with a promise. James 1:25 also tells us, “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” The law of liberty refers to the work Christ did on the cross to show His love and set us free from sin’s control. The perfect law is to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength, and love others (Matthew 22:37-40). Praying the Word of God helps you do the Word of God, so you will be blessed in what you do.
The end was near over 2000 years ago, and we are that much closer, which is why we must stay focused in prayer on God’s Word, loving Him and others, and the gospel message of Jesus. We are to be ready and alert for Christ Jesus’s return because no one knows when it will be. The Apostle Peter said we are to be sober-minded so we can pray. A sober-minded person is someone who is grounded in reality and understands what they need to do and does it. Prayer keeps our mind on the things of God as we daily pray God’s Word into our lives. Praying all the times mean we turn every thought into a prayer to God, which includes praise and worship with a thankful heart.
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Contact me at email@example.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, salvation for non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name, so I know you are a real person making the request.
P.S.: Experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).