Watch and Pray
March 9, 2023
We are sometimes critical of Peter, James, and John for their failure in the garden. They FELL ASLEEP at a time when Jesus was “filled with horror and deep distress.” Jesus had even asked them to stay awake and pray. How could they be so irresponsible? Perhaps it would be helpful to put ourselves into the story. This had been a tense, exhausting week for the disciples. They had been traveling for days with Jesus. They had been with him when he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, when he caused a raucous in the temple, and when he was repeatedly confronted by those plotting to kill him.
Even that day they had been busy with preparations for the Passover meal which was no small effort. A traditional Passover gathering involved a large meal with many courses and four cups of wine. It began at sunset and continued well past midnight. We read that when the meal was over, they sang a hymn and headed for Gethsemane. The disciples intended to serve their Rabbi’s requests. They intended to be present with him, but by midnight they were likely ready for bed.
Then Jesus says, “Watch and pray.” Their intentions were high; but their spirits were weary, and they were not “present” with Jesus in his trauma. I wonder how often my good intentions to “be with Jesus” have failed. How often is my spirit willing but my weariness and distractions cause me to fall asleep? How many opportunities do I miss to worship and adore my Savior? In this Lenten season I pray that I will hear Jesus say, “Watch and pray.” May I be alert and “present with Jesus” as I meditate and remember his sacrifice for me.
Prayer: “I love you, Lord, and I lift my voice to worship You, Oh, my soul, rejoice! Take joy, my King, in what You hear. Let it be a sweet, sweet sound In Your ear.” Amen
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