The Lord instructed John, “Unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God . . . I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead” (Revelation 3:1).

Jesus is saying, “You may be a good person, someone who’ll do anything for anybody. You’ve got a good reputation among both the church and the world. You’re known as being truly alive in Christ, blessed of God. But an element of death has crept into your life. Something of the world has defiled you.”

“Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments” (3:4). What is the defilement referred to here? It is prayerlessness. And here is Jesus’ warning to us: “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God” (3:2).

The believers in Sardis hadn’t been alert. They hadn’t been in prayer, waiting on the Lord, seeking Him as they once had. Instead, they allowed themselves to grow careless, not coming to God daily for help. Now defilement had been laid on them. The word Jesus uses for defiled here signifies a soil of sin, a black mark on a white garment. Christ is telling us, “If you don’t pray, you have no defense against the enemy. Your negligence allows your garment to be stained.”

Yet, Jesus declares of a few, “A few names . . . have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy” (3:4). He’s saying, “You still have a small flame of desire for Me. You don’t want to lose My presence, to be given over to barrenness. Quickly now, stir up your hunger again. Go back to the secret closet of prayer and call on Me. Set your heart like a flint. Fan the flame of faith before it dies — before death sets into your soul, as it has with so many around you.”

Don’t ignore your great gift of access to God in prayer. Your eternal future depends on it. Pray and seek the Lord. He has provided you with access and He promises to meet your every need.