Watch and Pray
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
Jesus had a simple request for Peter, James, and John in the Garden of Gethsemane, and that was to watch and pray (see Matthew 26:41). But they were sleeping instead of praying.
I think the disciples’ lack of prayer was the result of self-confidence. Think about it: When do we usually pray? We pray when we are in trouble. If things are going reasonably well, if the bills are paid, if our health is good, if there are no problems on the horizon—at least that we are aware of— then we may not pray all that much. But when a crisis hits, when problems come, we start praying. And that is fine. It has been said that if your knees start knocking, kneel on them.
Jesus knew that a crisis was coming. Certainly the disciples could see that He was in obvious anguish. Luke, the physician, tells us in his Gospel that Jesus sweat, as it were, great drops of blood. It may be that Dr. Luke was describing what is known today as hematidrosis, a rare medical condition that occurs when a person is under extreme stress, and his or her perspiration actually will be mingled with blood.
All Jesus was asking from Peter, James, and John was a little companionship. In other words, “Just watch and pray. Just be here for Me, guys.” But twice when Jesus went back to check on them, they were sleeping.
Prayerlessness can be a sin—a sin of omission. As James 4:17 tells us, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” And 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.”
Has your prayer life been lacking lately? Prayerlessness can be a direct result of self-confidence.
Summary sentence: How would you assess your prayerfulness?
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