“7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.” NIV

‘’Stay wide-awake in prayer’’ ‘The Message’.

The government’s current message to ‘Stay Alert’ is so important. It should not be taken lightly. As Christians we should want to be good citizens and follow these guidelines as closely as we can. But we also see another level to the ‘Stay Alert’ message. We hear a call in it which was probably not intended: i.e. to ‘Stay Alert’ spiritually.

‘’Stay wide-awake in prayer.’’

I read an article by a pastor this week. As I understood it, he was saying that in all the discussions about the mechanics of returning to any kind of ‘normal’ church life, we must not lose sight of the underlying spiritual dynamics. He said if we don’t come out of this deeply changed something is wrong. We’ve wasted an opportunity.

If, for anyone of us, mediocrity/lukewarmness had become the norm before the pandemic, it mustn’t be any more. As Andy Lancaster encouraged us in a recent interview, this is a time to ‘press into God.’

Staying wide-awake in prayer entails at least 2 elements. These are indicated in one version as being ‘’clear minded and self-controlled’’.

It seems to me that clear-mindedness involves knowing what to pray, and self-control getting on and doing it.

Isn’t it just the easiest thing in the world to know that you should pray, and maybe even have some idea of what to pray, and still not do it?

So ‘Stay Alert’ to the enemy’s subterfuges; to his subtle schemes that would rob you of prayer (and rob the world of the potential impact of your prayers); ‘Stay Alert’ to all his attempts to steal the treasure of fellowship with God from your heart. ‘Stay Alert’ to what the Holy Spirit is saying and doing right now in your circumstances.

As someone said, ‘Pray until you pray!’

PRAYER: Lord help us to keep in step with your Spirit. Please strengthen me to pray until I pray.

 ‘For every time a man wants to pray, his enemies, the demons, want to prevent him, for they know that it is only by turning him from prayer that they can hinder his journey…prayer is warfare to the last breath.’ (A 4th century desert father who devoted his life to solitary prayer and meditation).