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How to Motivate Prayer

Pray from compfight by Chiceaux

How to Motivate Prayer

It’s not easy.

As I think of praying lots of other things start to feel really important — like working on our budget, or filing papers, or even taking out the trash.

I know — those are flaming darts of distraction from Satan.  But still, they tempt me.

So when it comes to motivating prayer, I need all the help I can get.

Help from 1 Peter

That’s why I was so encouraged this last week as I studied 1 Peter 4:7.  Because in this verse Peter gives a powerful motivation for prayer.

Here is what he says –

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

“The end of all things” is a reference to the Second Coming of Christ when he will return to earth, gather all of humanity to himself, welcome into heaven those who have trusted him, and cast into hell those who have refused.

And Peter says the end of all things “is at hand” — which does not mean it will come soon (Peter did write 2,000 years ago), but that it could come at any time (you can see this meaning in James 5:8-9).

And notice the word “therefore.”  It’s because Jesus could return at any time that therefore I should be self-controlled and sober minded in pursuing prayer.

But how does that work? How does the fact that Jesus could return at any time motivate me to pray?

God’s Plan for Prayer

I think Peter’s point has to do with God’s plan for prayer.

During this time before Jesus’ return God uses our prayer to change people’s eternal destinies and rewards.

So when you pray for God to strengthen your faith, keep you from sin, and empower your ministry — God will answer that prayer and as a result you will have more joy in him forever.

Or when you pray the same for fellow-believers – God will answer that prayer and they will have more joy in him forever.

Or when you pray that God would save unbelievers. And God could use that prayer to bring them to faith so they are forgiven, escape God’s wrath, and have joy in God forever.

So prayer can increase your eternal joy, and the eternal joy of others.  Which means prayer is massively important.

But Once Jesus Returns

But once Jesus returns, everyone’s eternal destiny and rewards will have already been decided — and prayer won’t change them.

So once Jesus returns it’s too late to pray for yourself, for fellow-believers, or for people who are not yet trusting Christ.

And that’s why Peter motivates prayer by telling us that Jesus could return at any time

Because once Jesus returns, it will be too late to pray.  But now, it’s not too late.

Think of it.  30 minutes of prayer this evening —

  • can increase your joy in God forever,
  • can increase fellow-believers’ joy in God forever,
  • and can bring unbelievers you know into joy in God forever.

Your prayer can increase the joy people have in God forever.

Don’t waste your evening.

Questions? Comments?

I’d love to hear them, although I might not be able to respond.  Leave a reply below —  thanks.

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(Picture from compfight.com by Chicaux.)

Category: Help with Prayer

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2 Responses

  1. 'Pelumi says:

    Thanks for this Steve. Very instructive words.

  2. Margie Coursey says:

    Love! Laminating some of this to use during my newly expanded prayer time. Thank you!

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