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1 Peter 4:7

ESV The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
NIV The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.
NASB The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.
CSB The end of all things is near; therefore, be alert and sober-minded for prayer.
NLT The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers.
KJV But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
NKJV But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.

What does 1 Peter 4:7 mean?

Peter is writing to Christians who suffer for Jesus' sake, to those who have taken on Christ's attitude that hardships for God's cause are part of our purpose as His people. He now offers a perspective which is both encouraging and a warning: It's almost over.

More specifically, Peter writes that the end of all things is near, or "draws near." Everything necessary for history to come to an end has already happened. Messiah has come, lived, died (1 Peter 3:18), been resurrected (1 Peter 3:21), and ascended back to His Father where He reigns now over the universe (1 Peter 3:22) and is ready right now to judge all who live and have ever lived (1 Peter 4:5). Along with the other New Testament writers, Peter affirms that we are now living in the last days or end times. True, by God's grace, it has been 2,000 years since Peter wrote these words (2 Peter 3:9). That span seems extremely long to short-lived humans (2 Peter 3:3–4), but the day continues to draw ever nearer. So, what is the right response to this awareness that the end of all things is near? Panic? Isolation? Indulgence in pleasure-seeking? Peter's answer is that the most rational response is to pray. And, that prayer requires strong and clear minds. This is yet another reason not to jump into the mindless pleasure-seeking described in prior verses. Instead, Peter writes, we must be self-controlled, or alert, or exercising sound judgment about our choices. And we should be sober-minded. In this context, "sober" means "serious." In other words, we should be careful about how we live. Our choices impact our ability to think clearly. It is better to be self-controlled, so that we can pray.

How necessary is prayer for Christians? It is crucial. How concerned are we about keeping our minds nimble and focused for the purpose of praying? That's a harder question. What, if anything, is keeping us from thinking clearly and praying faithfully?
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