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September 12, 2010

Praying with Jesus

Second Chance–Keep Watching

 and Praying Today

“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Matthew 26:41

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  Have you ever really let down your friends in Christ?  Have you ever known for sure that you have failed to follow the command of Jesus Christ to do one specific thing?  Have you heard the voice of Jesus, speaking from His Word, letting you know that you failed Him?  While you think about those questions, keep in mind in the same way that Jesus confronts you with your failures must dominate your interaction with your friends in Christ who fail you and Him.

       Jesus let His disciples know that He felt grieved to the point of death, but He never let His feelings dominate the way He talked with His Father or His disciples.  So many times I see people act from their emotions, and make a very difficult time even worse.  When we go through tough times, our emotions rise to huge heights, or tend to drag us down to the deepest depths of despair.  Jesus, however, prayed with emotion, and talked with emotion, but His emotions did not prevent Him from giving His disciples a second chance to watch and pray.

        In Matthew 26:41,  we see Jesus coming back to the disciples after praying.  Jesus gave His sleeping disciples a second chance to watch and pray by commanding them again “Keep watching and praying . . . .”  Jesus did not blow up at His disciples and tell them to just forget it, He would keep on praying alone.  Jesus did not follow any emotional desire to be angry with them, and let His anger spill forth on His disciples.  We read in Luke 22:45, that they were sleeping because of sorrow (“λύπης“).  Not only were they physically tired, but they were also emotionally exhausted with grief, knowing that Jesus would be betrayed soon, and He was deeply distressed.  When your friends in Christ fail you, give them a second chance.

        Notice also that Jesus gave the disciples a very specific reason to keep watching and praying: “that you may not enter into temptation, . . . .”  Jesus fully understood the problems of temptation coming upon you when you are physically tired and emotionally drained.  He said that prayer, even under those conditions, would help them avoid temptation.

       Finally, Jesus also told His disciples that He knew about their problems.  He knew that the spirit was willing, but their flesh was weak.  Satan, like a lion, searches out the weak and tired, seeking easy spiritual prey.  At times, we pray to avoid being prey.

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

        ●  We learn to pray by understanding how Jesus prayed with His friends.  He expected them to follow His commands to watch and pray, but He was prepared to give them a second chance.  He did not blow up at them, and tell them to forget about praying with Him.  Praying with our friends in Christ will take patience and determination.

        ●  We learn to pray better when we understand that prayer can keep us from entering into temptation. 

       ●  We hinder our prayers when we fall asleep, or let our sorrow overwhelm us, or we fail to heed the command of the Lord Jesus.  Being there for our friends in Christ means being there watching and praying. 

Application for Today

        Today, I want to make sure I give my friends in Christ a second chance to pray for me.  I also will ask their forgiveness if I fall asleep.  I know that sometime I will be tired, sorrowful, and sleepy when I it is time to pray, but I must be like Jesus.  I want to encourage my friends in Christ to keep watching and praying, and give them a second chance to pray with me, not only for my sake, but also for theirs.  Who will you encourage to pray for you today?