Scripture: Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?” (Matthew 26:40 NIV).
As the light in a dark world, Christians are called to be a reflection of who Jesus was when He walked upon the earth; (Matt. 5:16). Sent by His Father, Jesus went about doing good; (Acts 10:38), even for those who were outside of the covenant. His mission was to give sight to the blind, heal the sick, feed the hungry, teach, and bring glory to God.
With the Passover fast approaching, the Lord makes His final announcement of His Passion. While dining, He informed His disciples of the events that were about to take place. He told them of how He was going to suffer and die, and be raised from the grave after three days. Though He had no sin, the hour had come for him to bear the sins of the world by the impending cross.
After partaking of the Last Supper, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to pray, as was His custom. However, things were going to be different this time. A prophecy had to be fulfilled. Jesus was going to be arrested, even though He committed no crime. His accusers were hot on His trail, with the procession led by Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver; (Matt. 26:15).
Where were the disciples when Jesus was praying? He found them asleep in the Garden. Didn’t they grasp the importance of the conversation while dining at the table? Their Lord was going to suffer a horrendous death and after three days, He was going to be raised from the grave. Why wasn’t this at the forefront of their minds?
James and John should have remembered their discussion about who among them was the greatest in the Kingdom; (Luke 22:27). They were more concerned about getting a top position in the kingdom, than the death of an innocent man. Remember Peter’s emphatic confession? He swore that he would suffer and die with Jesus at all cost; (Matt. 26:35). He didn’t know that he was going to deny knowing Jesus three times. Jesus also warned Peter of satan’s request to sift him as wheat. He told the disciples to pray with hopes of their faith not failing them; (Luke 22:31-32). Jesus prophesied these future events, but his disciples did not discern the matters at hand.
DELIVER US FROM EVIL
On another occasion, Christ found it was needful to teach His disciples how to pray. “Our Father which are in heaven, holy is thy name, thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory. Forever Amen”; (Matthew 6:9-14).
After He prayed, He went back to the disciples, and found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” Rise and pray, lest ye enter into and fall by the approaching most dangerous temptation.“ Prolonged sorrow has a numbing and narcotizing effect.
This is an invaluable lesson regarding the importance of prayer, as well as interceding for others. Jesus not only prayed for his disciples, but He also prayed for Himself, and for all believers; (John 17). Prayer is our lifeline to God. The Lord’s Prayer provides a perfect example of how believers should pray.
Some of us have purposed in our hearts to pray, but the enemy seems to find his way into our private spaces and hinders our prayers by whispering a quiet lullaby into our ears to lull us to sleep. He also uses this trick when we’ve made a commitment to reading our Bible on a regular schedule. It’s during those times that we endure the most distractions, or if we’ve decided to read before going to bed, it seems that we just can’t keep our eyes open. We’re yawning and stretching, trying to stay awake. We’re unaware of the enemy’s impending temptation to override our plans to pray and study. We can’t fathom the extreme methods the enemy uses to keep us from communing with God and from growing spiritually.
I don’t doubt for one second that this is what happened with the disciples. As important as Jesus’ mission was, He returned only to find them asleep. Luke characteristically adds, “sleeping for sorrow” (Luke 22:40). They were all powerless to slumber. They were weak. This is a trick of the enemy, he strikes at our weakest moments. When we pray “deliver us from evil,” we’re asking God to deliver us from the power, snares, and temptation of the evil one. Although the disciples were powerless to satan, God has all power over the tempter to save us. God’s plan never fails.
To learn more about the “Lord’s Prayer” click here
Grace and peace to you!