A Prayer of Sobriety
A prayer of Moses the man of God.
10 Our days may come to seventy years,
or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
“Strength of mind rests in sobriety; for this keeps your reason unclouded by passion.”
– Pythagoras, Greek philosopher and mathematician, 6th century B.C.
Sobriety in life comes when we realize we haven’t taken something seriously that we should have. Years ago, a student ministry leader was teaching high schoolers in an open garage. They were customarily goofy and not taking much seriously, so he grabbed a huge ball of yarn, colored the first inch of it red with a Sharpie, and gave it to them to completely unravel. They began kicking it around the cul-de-sac like a soccer ball until it was completely unwound.
After calling them back into the garage, the leader pointed at the red inch, saying, “This is how long your life is compared to the eternity that God has planned for you. What are you doing with it? Because as you can see, the direction of that first inch sets the pace for all the rest of it.”
With much sobriety, this is what Moses is doing when he asks God to help us see how short and small our life on earth is compared to what comes after. Another way of saying this is: If your life was a rudder, where is your ship heading? What will be its destination?
Do you like the direction your life is heading and the destination it is leading you to? If so, spend some time praising God for that. If not, ask for God’s help and for what He would like you to do to move the rudder, beginning today.
Pray verse 12 in your own words. What would wisdom say should be your best focus in this season of your life?
Thank God for this moment of sober reflection, and then place a reminder on your calendar or an object in your everyday view to remind you of the brevity of life and the importance of staying focused on something or someone that matters deeply to you.