Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass…
Our Lord did not so much urge the duty of praying as the safety of prayer.
I. To this, then, let us first turn our thoughts. Jesus mentioned as the special aim of prayer: "That ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things," i.e., calamities, that their city, nation, race, and, in fact, the human family were liable to experience, but yet might escape if only they would seek to be accounted "worthy" to do so. The word "worthy" as here used calls for examination; for if it be taken in the sense of deserving because faultless, there is no use in saying anything about it: we are not that; and we never can so be "accounted worthy," having already committed aggravated offences against God without number, which have brought compromises of guilt and stains upon our souls. The idea of merit, however, .which the word "worthy" usually carries with it, is not at all intended in this verse. The verb used is a military term really, meaning to conquer, to win a victory, to prevail against another, against an enemy, against baffling influences and hindering circumstances. Hence the meaning of the word in the text is: that they might be able to prevail and escape all the calamities Jesus had been speaking of. The Revised Version sustains this interpretation. It gives the text: "But watch ye at every season, making supplication that ye may prevail to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." It was not that He counselled His disciples to deserve or merit safety through their good conduct, although their good conduct was to be as binding as ever, but to pray that they might be tenacious of purpose, unyielding, and therefore, successful in overcoming temptation, walking so faithfully with their Lord Jesus Christ, as to practise good conduct and persevere in it.
II. Mind, they were to pray that they might be tenacious. On that they ought to resolve; ought to set out to be tenacious in Christian living, in overcoming human oppositions, surmounting temporal obstacles, social hindrances, threats of rulers, frowns of society, oppositions of families, clamours of self-interest, desires for enjoyment, and lusts that ruin the soul — bearing their cross to follow after Jesus; but still, in addition to all this, nay in order to accomplish all this, they were to make continual and systematic applications to the Host High God. Wherever you have failed tell it to God; in perfect frankness confess it to Him, and ask Him to account you worthy to escape all forces of temptation, and all calamities that are, or are to be, consequent on sin; or as the Revised Version has the text: "Make supplication that you may prevail to escape," every evil of ungodliness, whether already wrought in the callousness of your heart, or in a weakness of character growing out of self-love, or in the fearful sorrows that are to be experienced on Christ's rejection of your undying soul in the judgment day.
Parallel VersesKJV: Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.