Jesus warned his disciples, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish” (Matthew 25:1-2, NKJV). If you are honest, you’ll admit, “Yes, this parable describes me. I’ve grown lazy, but I don’t want to become a foolish virgin and drift away. I want to be ready as the day of the Lord approaches.”

If you want to be a wise virgin, there are two steps you must take. They’re simple, but they can’t be overlooked.

First, make Christ the center of your thought life. Let the Lord be in all your thoughts. When you wake up in the morning, whisper his name. At night as you’re going to bed, call out to him in thought and on your knees. Scripture commands us, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8). Let this verse be the basis of a simple prayer you murmur throughout the day: “Jesus, you are true, honest, just, pure and lovely. You are my Good News.”

We too often let ourselves become consumed with worries or plans. Paul wrote, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile” (1 Corinthians 3:20). God records all your thoughts. He knows every time you think of him, so give him all your “thank you” thoughts.

Second, pray throughout the day, “Lord have mercy on me a sinner.” This simple prayer is the oil for your lamp. Praying it daily is how you begin to prepare to meet the Lord. You’re telling God, “Father, I’m not worthy to be called by your name. I need your mercy. I realize I’m not what I thought I was. I thought I was a pretty good person, yet whatever meager goodness I may possess gains me nothing. It’s all as filthy rags in your sight. I know I can’t be saved by my good works. I need your grace. I humble myself before you now. Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”