“But the end of all things is at hand:be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.”1 Peter 3:16 KJV
This passage is a bit different in the Greek. We are being told to understand that the end is near and that our time is extremely important. We are to be “of a sound mind,” which many translate “alert,” and that is O.K. but the phrase here actually goes a bit deeper. It means to keep one’s mind in areas of usefulness; to think soundly instead of having our thoughts ruled by our emotional situation. In emotional times, we cannot think clearly in order to “see” clearly. The Lord always draws near as we tune into Him, but to have a mind that is alert and thinking appropriately, releasing faith is a huge asset when it comes to praying what is needed. The second thing is to “be sober,” which we equate with a lack of drunkenness from any source. The word can mean that, but it also includes other items. “…properly, to be sober (not drunk), not intoxicated; (figuratively) free from illusion, i.e. from the intoxicating influences of sin (like the impact of selfish passion, greed, etc.).” Strong’s definition. So we see, that our behavior is also included.
The prayer Peter is encouraging is what we would call a “Spirit-filled prayer.” It is a prayer that is spoken through a heart and mind that is thinking clearly and able to “see” with eyes of the Spirit into what is true. Now we are always to pray, regardless of our situation. However, this verse is encouraging prayer during your best moments of the day – not the sleepiest ones. Those sleepy prayers are always good and received, but He wants to use us in prayer in other ways than just for me and mine. We need to be able to allow the Spirit to unfold Himself in us in such ways as to make clear how we are to pray. This is a dialogue, not a monologue. It is an interaction in Spirit with brain full on. No specific “need” is needed here, for the flow of the Spirit through the renewed mind is releasing prayer that reaches beyond need into the recourses of the Lord, already given. It releases and receives faith and instruction for life. It is a river that never ceases and that always fills and renews, for how can one touch Almighty God and not be truly renewed!