Sober to Pray

Tim Brown

READ : 1 Peter 4:1-11

The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. (v. 7 NRSV)

Every biblical author addressing the end of all things agrees about this: it will be frightening! So Peter reasons further that we must be serious enough and disciplined enough to meaningfully participate in what the Lord is doing through our prayers. A theologian whom I owe a great debt once said, “What matters most in the entire world is a small band of faithful believers bearing up the concerns of the whole world through their prayers.” Peter would agree with him.

More than 30 years ago the Lord put on my heart the need to pray for others and to pray with them. It came at a time in my early pastoral days when I was running in my own strength and getting more and more discouraged. Late one night while on a family vacation with all the children tucked snugly in their sleeping bags, I lay staring at the top of the tent post anxious and desperately in need of help. Somewhere in the night the Lord whispered very loudly, “You don't pray!” I objected but quickly realized he had better evidence.

I returned home from that vacation revelation and told a couple of friends about my discouragement and tent revelation. One of them said, “Sounds like we need to pray.” We started that day and haven't stopped since! Gathering with them early on Wednesday mornings is a great and eternal gift to me. Let's be serious and discipline ourselves to pray.


Lord, teach us to pray!