Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

29 June 2011

Peter on prayer - the motivation and the mechanism

You've probably noticed that I have been doing some thinking about prayer lately.  My hope is that I might see a deepening in the scope of my prayers and a building up of my "praying on my own" prayer muscles that have atrophied after long years of sleep deprived or toddler driven distractedness.  

Last week I had the joy of reading through 1 Peter and found a new verse to underline.

The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.
1Peter 4:7

This verse seems to sum it all up for me and has been rolling around my head ever since.

Prayer is important because the end of all things is near.  All the major events in God's plan of redemption have occurred with Christ's work on the cross, his resurrection and ascension and now all things are ready for Christ to return and rule.  We have been in the end times for nearly 2 000 years.  We don't know when Christ will return.  It may not be for another 2 000 years or more.  Or it may be in a minute.  "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" it says in Matthew 24:36.  What we do know is that it will happen and so we need to be ready so that it doesn't come upon us like a thief in the night.  Part of being ready, Peter tells us in this verse, is to pray. That is the motivation.

And then he provides the mechanism. Therefore be clear minded and self controlled so that you can pray.  Which for me means I just really need to keep a clear mind to make mental and physical space to pray.  I have moved out of the season of being distracted by sleep deprivation followed by the endless, energy sapping vigour of toddlers.  That season is over.  I am without excuse now.  Except that I find myself distracted by the various balls I gradually added to my juggling act as the boys grew into greater independence and ultimately reached school age, leaving me with five free hours for five days a week.  More than ever it seems I need to show some self control in regulating my activities so that I can pray serious, sober, informed, intelligent, deep prayers with a clear mind. 

The end of all things is near.  Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 1Peter 4:7

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