And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” MATTHEW 26:40–41
Our Lord modeled a lifestyle of prayer. He stole away to the mountains to pray, He withdrew from the crowds to pray, and He arose early to pray. The Sovereign Lord of the universe bent His knees before the Father daily, hourly, ceaselessly. But this moment of prayer at Gethsemane was different. It was different from every other moment of prayer. It was more than different — it was far, far, impossibly more difficult. It is here that He is “deeply grieved to the point of death.” And in this history-defining, world-shaking, soul-agonizing night of prayer, He invites His closest disciples into perhaps the most vulnerable moment of His earthly life up to that point — “Will you pray with Me?”
But we find the disciples in a far lesser state. At the greatest prayer meeting in the history of the world, they are asleep. Asleep when Jesus needed their prayer partnership the most. Asleep when all of redemptive history hung in the balance. Asleep at the greatest hour of prayer. Before we point the finger and accuse the disciples, we must first search our own hearts. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” It is easy to profess, it is far more difficult to obey, particularly in the place of prayer. As Dick Eastman, a father in prayer, has said, “Satan’s greatest goal is to keep us from our knees.”
There are many things that are keeping us “asleep” at this hour. Brothers and sisters, it is not enough to simply not eat food or to show up at a prayer meeting. The real question is, “Do our hearts burn within us for Him? Do the things that break God’s heart break ours? Are we awake and willing to partner with Jesus in prayer?”
Pray for grace to wait upon the Lord and to grow in this discipline of prayer. Pray for hunger for the secret place. Pray for students to give themselves to prayer amidst their busy schedule during the semester.