Be watchful and keep praying



We invite you to take a peek inside our weekly Light for the Way devotional series provided for staff.

By Pastor Chris Wheatley, Senior Director of Pastoral Care Services

“… be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” — Ephesians 6:18b, NIV

One of the most unique things about the New Testament is that it is primarily made of letters. These books of the Bible function both as instructions to believers everywhere and as letters written to specific people in time. And the switch between those two functions can happen very quickly.

In Ephesians 6:18, Paul writes, “…be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Nearly everybody would agree that this is instruction for all generations, so that all God’s people, those alive now and those yet to come, may be lifted in prayer.

Yet Paul’s very next words are, “Pray also for me, so that when I speak … I may make the Gospel boldly known.” This is obviously a request made only to the original recipients of the letter, since Paul hasn’t even given a sermon in over 1,900 years.

In those examples, the intended audience is simple and straightforward, even if not explicitly stated. But it can make quite a difference to us as readers today. If we go back in Ephesians 5:15–16, you will find these words:

“Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”

And I ask you, brothers and sisters, are we, right now, living in evil days?

Certainly those who first received Paul’s letter were. Public positions were being openly sold to the highest bidders. The most wicked empire in history continued to enforce its will by torture, slavery and death games as entertainment. The family line of Julius Caesar was in its last days, as immediate family members barely covered up the fact that they were murdering each other.

So I ask again: Are you and I, right now, living in evil days?

The answer to that question makes a real difference in how we go forward. If these are good days, and we trust that most people in our world are also working for the good of all humanity, then let us join them in seeking love and justice for all. But if these are evil days, and most people seek only their own advantage, then let us heed Paul’s warning to seek wisdom about every opportunity, knowing that it may not be what it seems.

Let us be wise. Yet no matter what we see or fail to see about the world, let us know the truth that does not change, and walk in the Light that does not fail.

Concluding staff prayer:

Lord, may nothing separate us from you today. Teach us how to choose your will and help us walk by your Word and not our feelings. Help us to keep our hearts pure and undivided. Keep us from being distracted by our own wants or desires of how things should be and embrace everything that comes our way as an opportunity rather than an inconvenience. Help us to remember that today is a gift. We now lift up the joys and concerns on our hearts this day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Rev. Chris Wheatley serves PHS as Senior Director of Pastoral Care Services. He is an ordained Lutheran pastor and has served in hospice, eldercare, hospital, HIV/AIDS and congregational settings. He and his wife Nicole are perpetually outnumbered by cats and Dobermans.

The Light for the Way series provides staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.

Find more in the Light for the Way series:
Satisfied by grace
Introducing Light for the Way, a new devotional series

In addition to Light for the Way, you can find reflections, devotions, music and other resources on the Pastoral Care resources website.



Get news, stories and updates on PHS communities, residents and employees, plus resourceful information on living well!

More stories