The Bible is loaded with material on the subject of prayer. Examples of faithful, praying servants of God are all over the pages of the Old Testament.
David wrote down many of his prayers. We now benefit from reading them in the Psalms thousands of years later. Abraham, Moses, Daniel, the prophets and others modeled for us their conversations with God.
The pages of the New Testament give us Jesus’ teaching on prayer. Examples of praying believers and countless admonitions to pray are found within the letters of scripture. Paul encouraged us to devote ourselves to prayer in every situation, constantly, never giving up and always thankful for the results.
But in light of world events and heartbreaking news from Eastern Europe, a statement that the Holy Spirit inspired Peter to write caught my attention recently.
“The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer” (1 Peter 4:7, NASB).
Looking more like an evil despot than a wise leader, Russian president Vladimir Putin has imposed terror, destruction and death on the people of Ukraine. While some political leaders in our nation and other democratic countries have used this tragedy for political gain, most of us are outraged over the careless loss of freedoms and the senseless massacre of human lives.
While our anger can be justified, it can also take us down the wrong road. That’s why Peter’s statement grabs my attention. Put everything in perspective. “The end of all things is near.” He’s saying, what we experience is part of God’s ultimate plan for history.
Therefore, don’t let anger dictate your response. Instead, “be of sound judgment.” Think clearly, be alert, think soberly, be discerningly wise. Don’t respond to the foolish evils of others with more doses of foolishness. Why? “For the purpose of prayer.”
The end goal is prayer, but we cannot pray effectively to our God of grace and mercy if we skip over sound judgment and godly discernment.
Pray for the people of Ukraine and their leaders. Pray for the tsunami of refugees still fleeing to the democratic countries around Ukraine. Pray for our International Mission Board missionaries and other evangelical ministries who are pouring their hearts and our resources into caring for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of these refugees. Pray for volunteers from the United States, including many from North Carolina, who are traveling to Eastern Europe to serve as needed.
Pray! It’s part of God’s purpose for us. We are salt and light to our neighbors, even if they live thousands of miles away.