What a week! I sit here at the end of it asking myself how much longer we are going to let the enemy have control in our lives. It’s frustrating. I feel like he is working so very hard in my life and in the lives of those around me. He is bringing so much discouragement and defeat. I know I keep talking about this, but it seems like that’s all I’m hearing lately. Daily I hear of another being sick or losing a job, or a marriage in the midst of separation. What is going on? It’s absolutely crazy!!!
“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowl about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1Peter 5:8)
The enemy is hard at work. He is working to defeat God’s people. He is taking our joy. He is destroying our families. He’s beating down those who call themselves followers of Christ. It’s all around us and we are just sitting back letting it happen. I too am guilty of this. I have not been feeling well this week and my devotional time has suffered. I’ve been too busy to sit and think. I have been too tired to pray. I’ve been too distracted to listen to the voice of God. I’ve just been discouraged by the whole thing.
And then this morning I read the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He took three disciples with him to pray. He asked them to watch and pray while He bowed before the Lord. It was the most important prayer Jesus would pray (in my opinion). It showed He was absolutely obedient to God regardless of what lay ahead. It was a prayer where he pleaded with God to take away the cup that was before Him. We’ve prayed that prayer. We’ve asked God to take away the mountain He wants us to climb. We’ve even begged and made bargains with God to be better or do better if He would just help out this time. If He could just give a miracle, we would give Him all the glory.
I understand Jesus’ desperate plea. I believe the thing that kept Jesus obedient was the fact that He knew that God would be with Him through this ordeal. He knew that no amount of pain, no amount of humiliation, no amount of ridicule would even come close to the love the Father had for Him. In His flesh, He knew He would not be able to withstand all that He had to endure. The only way He could complete the work God set before Him was to rest in Him. He had to let God be His strength. He had to be totally reliant on God.
I am troubled by the fact that the disciples were caught sleeping instead of praying. They were supposed to be His friends and they fell asleep. Three times Jesus asked them to pray for Him, and He returned to find them sleeping. Are we asleep when it comes to prayer? Have we forgotten the effect prayer has on our lives and the lives of those we care about? Sometimes, I think we spend more time talking about the Lord and not enough talking to Him. The disciples fell asleep when Jesus needed them the most. When someone you know asks for prayer, do you just say a one-liner or do you honestly spend time in prayer?
This is a very convicting passage to me. I’ve spent a lot of time sleeping this week when I should have been praying. When people ask me to pray, I take it seriously. I don’t want to just do a blanket “bless them” prayer to complete a task. I honestly want to go before the Lord and ask for God to do a work. I want to spend time interceding for them and seeking God in ways they can not. Sometimes, we need our friends to pray for us because we don’t know what to pray. It’s easier to see a situation clearly when you are not in the middle of it. The best thing you can do for someone is to spend quality time asking God to intervene for the one’s we love.
Prayer is so very important. I think we’ve gotten away from honest, heart-felt prayer. We forget to spend time with the One who will has the power to help us endure. Therefore, “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17)