The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you may pray. 1 Peter 4:7

If we’re not clear minded and self-controlled we won’t pray. I have found this to be true in my experience, if I’m worried and upset I don’t pray. My energy is spent on thinking about the “what ifs,” the “maybes,” and the “might be’s.” Rather than focussing on God and his ability to bring good out of any circumstance, my mind is considering all the negative outcomes.

To remain clear minded (so we can pray) takes faith. It means trusting in God regardless of the circumstances. When the Israelites faced the Red Sea with the Egyptians bearing down on them, they were “terrified” (Exodus 14:10) but Moses told them, “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still” (verse 14). The New Living Translation puts it this way, “Just stay calm.” We stay calm by reminding ourselves of two great truths, God’s mighty power and his great love for us. God is powerful enough to deal with any situation we find ourselves facing, plus he’s a loving God who has our best interests at heart.

To remain self-controlled (so we can pray) takes practice. It means controlling our thoughts by refusing to entertain negative ideas. We may not be able to stop the negative ideas dropping into our mind, but it’s our choice as to what we do with the thought. We have the ability to dismiss it and replace it with something positive.

When we are clear minded and self-controlled we can pray. We can focus on God, pray for wisdom, guidance, and strength. We can come boldly to the “throne of grace … and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).