7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.” NIV
‘’ The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers.’’ (NLT).
I feel unable to pull out of this particular station just yet.
There are three other things I want to say:
- Prayer is fundamental to a fully committed life: ‘…no matter what a Christian’s circumstances, he cannot live faithfully if God is only a part of his life, bracketed away from the rest. In the end, either Christ is at the Center of our lives, or the Self and all its idolatries are. There is no middle ground. With His help, we can piece together the fragments of our lives and order them around Him, but it will not be easy, and we can’t do it alone.’ (Rod Dreher: ‘The Benedictine Option’,pp.75,76). I believe Rod is correct in his assessment, and note his inference that prayer must lie at the heart of such a surrendered life.
- Prayer is of paramount importance for the gathered church. As Peter writes about life in the last days, his first emphasis is on qualities which will help us to pray. This reminds me of Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 2:1 where he writes: ‘’I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – ‘’ In these words he underlines the priority of prayer in public worship. It’s the most important thing we can do when we come together as a church.
- Prayer will enable us to see the way ahead. As denominational leaders begin to share documents designed to help local church leaders prepare for easing out of lockdown, it becomes obvious that any return to physical meeting will be a complex process. At least, that’s how it looks to me. I don’t believe that there will be any single plan which is universally applicable to every single congregation; no ‘one size fits all’ template. This is a time for local church leaders to pray, and for churches to pray for their leaders. In prayer we will find our answers; in prayer we will receive the wisdom we lack and so desperately need. In prayer we can find the way forward. Yes, we must apply our minds; we must think. Yes, we must discuss, and take advice. Yes, we must work hard and ensure we fulfill every necessary obligation. But above all, let us pray.