Scripture: Matthew 26:36-46
We have discovered while traveling on this faith journey as members of God’s family, we must practice prayer. As we run this race with Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, we must be in constant communication with the Lord.
We have also learned that prayer is a communicative process involving one individual talking to God or the corporate body/Congregation talking to God. Please don’t forget that listening is an important function of the prayer process. The Psalmist reminds us to, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Obedience requires the listening prayer. This type of prayer requires spending quiet, “I time” listening for the voice of the Lord to speak through His word, in our hearts and in our spirits!
In today’s text, we observe our Lord Jesus demonstrating what to do when life’s trouble and tribulations are upon us, which is to pray. The message to us is to stop sleeping. Wake up and pray.
In today’s text, Jesus requested his up-close disciples, the three that supposedly had his back, Peter, the sons of Zebedee, which were James and John, to accompany him to the Garden of Gethsemane, to watch and pray.
The Lord brought these three for support and comfort. However, the disciples failed to provide any empathy, enthusiasm nor did they engage with the Lord in prayer. They were not in the mood for praying, but they felt like snoozing.
Why did the disciples fall asleep? Why didn’t they demonstrate enthusiasm when Jesus made the request for them to pray? Maybe the disciples decided to withdraw from the situations because of their flaky faith. Peter, James and John possessed the attitude that this situation proved a bit deep for them.
Oftentime, we too, experience conflict avoidance syndrome in our own lives as well as when it comes to others. Instead of dealing with a situation, we’d rather take a nap; stay clear of the individual; or dodge the situation.
But in situations of depression, distress and disgust, there is a need for a prayer warrior dressed in strong spiritual armor, especially the shield of faith to combat against the fiery darts associated with trials, troubles and tribulations.
Yes, faith is necessary in difficult and doubtful times. When it’s prayer time, we should join in with excitement because by faith, we expect God to answer, by faith, we expect God to move.
We need to be enthusiastic about prayer. If the pastor calls a prayer meeting, the entire congregation shows up…Prayer should be the #1 priority.
Prayer is the most powerful weapon that Christians possess. The enemy attempts to rock us to sleep just like the disciples in this text because Satan is well aware of the power of prayer.
Beware of temptations that occur when it’s prayer time. Distractions arise from every direction. But we must fight temptations, and not allow them to rock us to sleep; but we must fight with the power within us. Vs. 41b states, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” That’s with the Holy Spirit, who is our helper.
So church, when it’s time to pray, don’t think it’s naptime, but it’s a time for the body of Christ to utilize what Christ not only taught, but demonstrated over and over again.
Through prayer, Jesus came to the realization that His death was necessary; His death was for the remission of sin; His death was the will of God. Through prayer, Jesus discovered that it was not what He wanted, but it was what God wanted.
Through prayer, the Lord will help us to go through what we have to go through. We may not understand it, but maybe God is teaching us. God is toughening us. God is training us.
Whatever, we’re going through, our prayer should be like Jesus’, “not my will, but thy will be done.”
Jesus was clear about the mission set before him. Jesus was ready to face the betrayal; Jesus was ready to deal with the denial; Jesus was ready to confront the false accusations; Jesus was ready to die and rise up with Holy Ghost power to save! Jesus rose with Holy Ghost power to forgive and transform.
So wake up everybody, no more sleeping!!! Wake up, Pray, Get up!!
The Rev. Carolyn Baskin-Bell is the senior pastor of Second AME Church in Los Angeles.