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September 11, 2010

Praying with Jesus

Not Watching Today

“And He came to His disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘So, you  men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?'”

 Matthew 26:40, page 1551

       For Americans, September 11 will bring to mind vivid images of burning buildings and desperate rescue efforts.   Some events stay in our minds because they changed our lives and reshaped the world in a single moment.  Our memories hold strong emotions, and impress upon us events of great importance.

        As we have seen, in Matthew 26, Jesus has retreated to the Garden of Gethsemane with His disciples, and has taken Peter, James and John with Him to watch and pray.  We have watched how Jesus opened His heart to these men and told them about His soul being grieved to the point of death.

       In Matthew 26: 40, Jesus now returns from praying alone to see Peter, James and John sleeping.  He had told them about His deep emotional turmoil, and His need for them to watch with Him.  Instead, they fell asleep.  What do you do with spiritual friends who fall asleep and do not stand and pray with you during your most desperate times? What did Jesus do?

        Jesus said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?”  This phrase “keep watch” (“γρηγορῆσαι“) means that Jesus wanted them to stay awake and be in prayer for Him and themselves.  Jesus also expresses a note of disappointment with His question to them.  I also prefer to include in the translation the concept of a lack of strength (“ἰσχύσατε“), rendering the phrase: “So, you men did not have the strength to keep watch with Me for one hour?”  This idea of strength will play a role in the following context, describing the difference between the flesh and spirit.  Here, the flesh remains weak, and the disciples fell asleep at a critical time.  Jesus sought their watching, prayerful support, but they fell asleep.

       Finally, keep in mind that Jesus had been praying for one hour.  When was the last time you prayed about anything for an hour?  Jesus prayed for an hour and expected His friends to stay awake, watching and praying.  Sometimes, three men need to pray together while one man many has solitary prayer. 

        ●   So, we learn some more about sharing and praying with Christ.

        ●  We learn to ask our friends in Christ to watch with with us during difficult times, but we can also expect our friends in Christ to fall asleep at critical times.  Sometimes our friends in Christ fail to pray for us, especially when we really need it.

        ●  We learn to confront our friends in love when they fall asleep at important times, and we never give up on our friends in Christ. 

       ●  We learn to talk to our friends in Christ, even when take time to pray alone about the greatest events in our lives. 

Application for Today

        Today, I want to ask my friends to watch and pray for me.  I will completely understand when they fall asleep, and I will need to wake them up.  Have you fallen asleep today, so that you are not watching and praying for your friends in Christ who really need your prayer and alertness today?



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