Pray that this will not take place in winter. Mark 13:18

This was part of Jesus’ response to his disciples when they asked him about the timing of future events. Regardless of whether this particular instruction was about the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70 or to an event still to take place, it’s still an informative directive. Jesus didn’t say pray this won’t happen but rather that it won’t happen in winter. In the context, if one wanted to flee the city it would be best if weather conditions were mild.

The verse indicates that our prayers do impact circumstances. While God is Sovereign and running the world according to his agenda, our prayers do have an effect. Our prayers can rearrange events to our advantage. The verse teaches us that God cares about every aspect of our problems even the weather. So even when bad things happen we can still pray that God will minimize the difficulties. We may wonder why Jesus didn’t say pray God’s people would be spared hardship. Suffering isn’t an easy thing to accept when we know God is powerful enough to prevent it. However, God has something bigger in mind than for us to live trouble-free lives. While a painless life would be wonderful it wouldn’t achieve all God’s purposes for us.

In the long term, God is making a new heaven and a new earth and then we will know, “no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4). While we wait in anticipation of that time we remind ourselves, “what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18) and we pray for good outcomes.