It is the most powerful means of communication we have while on this earth. A quick google search will turn up any number of quotes on prayer:
- “Prayer changes everything.” (Anonymous)
- “Pray and let God worry.” (Martin Luther)
- “Pray is simply a a two-way conversation between you and God.”
- “Prayer is putting oneself into the hands of God.” (Mother Teresa)
- “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”
(Alfred Lord Tennyson)
- “Pray often, for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.” (John Bunyan)
- “What wings are to a bird, and sails to a ship, so is prayers to the soul.”
(Corrie ten Boom)
Knowing all this, why do I find prayer to be difficult? Hard work even?
It had been a long day for Jesus and his disciples. They had their last supper together in which Jesus reveals a betrayal was imminent. The mere thought of one of them turning on any of them, never mind on Jesus Himself, was upsetting.
Jesus goes to the Garden of Gethsemane to get alone and pray. Upon returning, He finds the disciples asleep …
“Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?”
(Mark 14: 37, NLT)
In this time of His deepest distress, Jesus had wanted the disciples to pray with Him. Seeing it was normal for them to pray out loud, it’s interesting to me they fell asleep. I probably would have eavesdropped on this conversation between Jesus and His Abba.
After a long day, it was normal for them all to be spent both emotionally and physically. The hour was late, probably after midnight. But Jesus was expecting more from these men.
The word ‘watch’ indicates “to refrain from sleep; to keep oneself from drowsiness.” (from the New Testament Lexical Aids, The Key Word Study Bible)
Jesus expected the disciples to keep themselves awake. Yet I cannot criticize these disciples, for I have fallen asleep praying as I lay in bed, even the nights when awakened to pray for a pressing need.
I’m learning to pray more often throughout the day – in the early morning, while straightening the house, when I am driving or cooking dinner. I am grateful that prayer is an ongoing conversation with God and perhaps, the operative word is just that, ongoing.
Yet we need to make concentrated efforts to pray. Set aside time to intentionally and deliberately come before God with all which is upon our hearts.
May we not fall asleep.
But do the greater work.
This is Day 14 of 31 Questions Jesus Asked. You can find the entire series here.