Yesterday we noted that one aspect of God’s will that Peter describes is the necessity of living according to God’s Word. A second aspect of the will of God is having a mind suitable for meaningful prayer (v. 7).
Peter here reveals the timescale in which we pray. When he says that ‘the end of all things is at hand’, he does not mean that the second coming of Jesus is near. Instead he means that the second coming is the next major event in God’s programme of salvation, and since that programme is eternal a period of a few thousand years is not very long. That is the timescale in which we pray. We are not to pray because there are many years left in human history in which our prayers can be answered. There may be many years, but we cannot know how soon or how distant is Christ’s return. Instead we are to pray knowing that the next major divine event is the judgement seat of Christ.
We can see why that perspective requires a lifestyle that is self-controlled and sober-minded. What do these descriptions say about our prayers? They indicate that effective prayer is thoughtful prayer. In order to be thoughtful, prayers must have mental preparation, such as ‘Who should I pray for today?’ or ‘What should I pray for today?’ This inevitably means that effective prayer requires time.
There are many encouragements given to us about prayer in God’s revealed will. We have examples in the Bible of individuals and groups who prayed and were heard by God. In addition, and more importantly, we have God’s great and precious promises about answered prayers. So, let us pray.