21 days of prayer
Joshua Brantley, Worship Pastor
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
In this story, we see the dichotomy of prayers of importance. On one hand, we see Jesus (who fully understands the events about to unfold) praying for God’s will to be done and on the other hand we see Jesus’ disciples (who are asked to pray) not being fully committed to the prayer time. Often I read this and I wonder if the disciples really knew what was about to happen, would their prayers have been different? Jesus had been trying to explain to his disciples about the upcoming events that would alter history. It seems that the disciples just didn’t quite comprehend the gravity of the hour. They, of course, we consumed with their own needs and desires. It says that he found them sleeping, because their eyes were so heavy. I feel that the Bible has warned us about the times that we live in as well. Many people are quick to say that we are living in the end times. If that is true, and I believe it is, then we are currently in a situation almost as pressing as the disciples in this story. God has called us to make disciples, to teach and preach salvation through Jesus Christ. Are we living with that conviction weighing heavy upon us daily, or do we- much like the disciples- find ourselves consumed with ourselves? Chances are that we know of people who are “overwhelmed with sorrow” and yet we are able to look away and ignore the realities that, almost literally, ask us to pray and intercede for them. I pray that I can become affected by other’s needs and suffering as much as I am affected by my own. I pray that our church becomes a people intent on saving and rescuing others from the lies of the enemy.
God I thank you for salvation. Thank you for sending your son to die so that we have the opportunity to be freed from our debts of sin. Thank you for your plan to love us, to redeem us and to use us to reach, teach and disciple others. I pray that we will not be consumed with our own lives, with our own schedules and with our own plans that we miss out on why you have placed us where we are – to share you with others.