1 Peter 5:6-11 “Watch and Pray”
The theme I want to focus on tonight is Watch and Pray, the command we receive from Christ in Mark 14:38. “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” This same concept is here in our passage: “casting all your anxieties on Him, for He cares for you.” (v 7) There is no better way to unburden, or transfer your burden – our word is casting, the placing upon. It is the same word that is used by Luke to describe everyone taking their coats off and putting them on the donkey that Jesus rode into Jerusalem. The idea here is: taking it off you and putting it on someone else. Placing all our anxieties on Him; there is no better way to do that than through prayer.
Notice he uses the same word as in “watch and pray”. “Be sober-minded, be watchful.” There is a fine balance, which can be difficult depending on our focus. We are to be care-free in the Lord, but not careless. Care-free, but not presumptuous. Watchful, but not worried. The Lord wants us to be watchful. He’s not saying everything is safe; it is not safe. There is the Devil seeking to hurt us. So, He isn’t saying it is safe; he’s saying do not worry.
Don’t worry about the anxieties and stresses of this world. Be watchful, but don’t worry. It almost sounds impossible to do. But we notice the Lord wants us to have our focus on Him, to trust Him to take care of us. Regarding the things for which we are responsible, we must be vigilant, watchful. We don’t get to say, “Well I prayed about it so now I can do what I want to do and see what happens.” We have to be watchful, but not worried.
This is very hard, especially when we think about their circumstances. The first century believers had all the worries we do: family, finances, the future. But they had additional worries like government intervention and religious persecution. But the Lord wants us to watch and pray, not worry, but rely on Him. Colossians 4:2, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Also, Philippians 4:6 & 7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This is the miracle of casting our anxieties on the Lord, being watchful and praying, not worrying, but being vigilant – He will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
People talk about good mental health. There is nothing better than the Lord calming your soul, in the midst of trial and difficulty, when anxieties want to hijack your mind. As we come to the Lord we should be vigilant and watchful, but not anxious. If we are, then we haven’t let go of our anxieties; we are sill trying to hold on to them. We haven’t transferred them to Christ. “Watch and pray”.