The Purpose of Prayer

1 Peter 4:7

The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.

This verse caught my eye because of how Peter ends it: for the purpose of prayer.  I think we tend to get the wrong idea about prayer.  We look at it as a spiritual discipline, which it is.  We look at it as a command from Jesus, which it is.  We look at it as a necessity in our relationship with God, which it also is.  However, do we really understand what it is.  Prayer is communication with God.  Sometimes we look at it, though, as if it is different than when we talk to each other.  It isn’t us petitioning a board of directors for something we want.  It isn’t us pleading for mercy when we are in pain or struggling with something.  It is the word for our communication with God.  Certainly, sometimes it looks like those things, just as it seems to be those things when we are interacting with each other.  We cannot lose sight of what it really is: conversing with our Creator.

The interesting thing about this verse is that Peter is telling us that since the end is near, we must make sure we remain “about our wits” so that we can properly communicate with God.  This isn’t so He can have better control over us, but rather so we know what to do when the world as we know it around us starts to fall apart.  Have you ever read the parts of the bible that tell us what is going to happen as the world nears its end?  Some say we are in the “end of days” right now.  The world is continually unraveling itself.  Maintaining sound judgment and sober spirit enables us to best communicate with God so we can ask Him, “what the heck is happening and what should I do about it?”  It also gives us the ability to hear and understand His answer.  If we are drunk with the world, we won’t be able to do any of this.  After all, if you are able to do that amidst worldliness, don’t you think everyone would be able to know what God is saying?

How easy is it for you to have a meaningful and understandable conversation when you are under the influence of something (chemical, emotional, or otherwise) or if you are distracted by outside influences (noise, surroundings, etc.)?  This is what Peter is warning against.  Many things are going to be fighting for your attention in this world and it is of utmost importance for us to build and maintain our relationship with God because He is the only one with the answers.  Wouldn’t you want to have the best possible relationship with the one who knows what is going to happen and how to navigate through it?  Jesus did say, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”  We would be wise to act on that information.

A friend has recently written a book about prayer.  It guides us through 3 different ways of prayer and examples of how to integrate prayer into your life.  Pick it up and read it when you have a chance.  Click here to learn how to Live Prayerfully.  Communication is the best way to build a relationship with someone, even God.

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