But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 1 Peter 4:7—NKJV

Belief in the imminency of the return of Christ has always been a part of living like a Christian. Our Savior may return at any moment because there is not one more prophecy which must be fulfilled before that glorious day when we see our Lord! It has been characteristic of authentic believers to live in light of the soon return of the Christ.

With every generation of church age saints the watchful ones have taken note of current events and they have grown in their anticipation as they see events resembling “The Day of the Lord.” Our God is patient (2 Peter 3:9) and waits still. Rather than discouraging the faithful, the patient waiting of the Lord to return despite world events has burnished the estimation of the saints’ fond hope of His soon return.

Our passage is one of the New Testament texts designed to add luster to the believer’s walk with God during critical times of heightened awareness and growing thirst among the faithful for discernable movement of the Hand of God on the world stage. Peter was writing to believers who would soon face the horrendous events surrounding the destruction of the temple in 70 AD when living like an expectant believer was as critical as ever. Every generation of believers has lived in a critical age surrounded by souls with only one lifetime of a chance to hear of the good news of the Gospel. One generation, perhaps ours, will assuredly live in the final days leading to the end time events of Matthew 24–25 and the books of Daniel, Isaiah and Revelation.

Peter gives points to ponder as he reminds us that the end of all things draws near requiring earnest love (verse 8), earnest Christian service (verse 9), earnest integrity of heart and ministry (verse 10), and (here in verse 7) earnest prayer. But this is not just a prayer of grace over a meal or rote prayer in public worship. This is watchful and soberly fervent prayer.

Looking at the verse above, one can’t help but wonder if the words of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane did not still echo in his ear, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:40–41) Peter calls all saints to be serious and watchful in your prayers. The Greek word for “serious” is indicative of level-headedness, not letting passions, lusts, mental laziness, or the emotion of the moment crowd out the eternal perspective which equips the believer to be a partner with God in prayer.

The Greek word for “watchful” is indicative of someone whose faculty of judgment is not reduced by other influences (the word can be translated “sobriety”). Far too many of us become “one-note-Charlie,” so controlled by that one thing that we lose our spiritual balance and are ill equipped to have a meaningful impact upon our day. A person who is drunk loses his inhibitions, is drowning out voices of conviction, is seeking to escape reality, or thinks he is fitting in.

Watchful prayer is such that there is an awareness of significant events, there is a soberly honest assessment of human needs according to biblical thinking, there is a conscious effort expended to discern the mind of God by applying Scripture to answer the problem, and there is exerted effort in prayer of petition to the Almighty. This is the call to action for the believer upon whom the end of all things is at hand.

How is your prayer walk in the last days of this generation before whom you are called to shine as a light in the darkness? Are you obedient to this command of God to pray as if you are in the end times? Does your prayer life spur you on to serve the Lord as if each day is your last opportunity to serve Him on this earth? Trust and obey.