Prior to His arrest and crucifixion, Jesus led His closest disciples, Peter, James and John, to the Garden of Gethsemane to spend time in prayer. Before He left His disciples to go pray alone, Jesus implored them to watch and pray also. Words cannot even begin to explain the anguish that Jesus felt in those moments of prayer and pleading before God. The Gospel of Luke says that as He fervently prayed, He literally sweat drops of blood from the pores of his skin.
In these moments, Jesus needed His disciples to be watchful and to pray more than any other time; however, the Gospels tell us that Jesus came back three times to find them fast asleep. He asked them, “Couldn’t you stay awake just one hour? You must watch and pray lest you fall into temptation and sin.” He also told them, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Here were Jesus’ closest disciples rendered completely ineffective, not by overt attack, but by merely being too sleepy to be of any use.
There will be times when you are tempted catch some extra sleep instead of spending time with the Lord. There will be times when the Holy Spirit encourages you to pray, and you fully intend to do so, but your body will physically hold you back. Sometimes the enemy’s biggest victory does not happen through overt attacks, but rather through the soft, warm comfort of your pillow.
As a church, we have been, and will continue to focus on prayer in the coming months. I encourage you to make time for prayer before the Lord. I write this not to guilt you into spending time in prayer, but to exhort you to realize what a privilege and power you possess to be able to spend face time with your Creator God. Whether you pray on your own and pray as a group, make it your highest priority. We can move mountains, but the first step is to wake ourselves up and stay alert.
May the Lord Richly Bless You,
Pastor Evan and Lucy Palmer