No Sleep for the Saints

Photo Credit: graur razvan ionut 

It makes me sad to say I finished Donna Pyles’ Your Strong Suit Bible study this past week. It was truly a wonderful study. If you haven’t done it, I encourage you to!
“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— ” Ephesians 6:14-18
We’re down to the last part of the passage.
When I think about “praying always…being watchful…with all perseverance and supplication…” I think about a man who spent the night in a beautiful garden with his Master.
Exhaustion from traveling, rising early, going to bed late, fishing, not to mention emotional exhaustion pulled at his eyelids, his limbs. I bet he couldn’t even think straight, yet his Master begged him to stay awake.
Something was about to happen, about to change the world in a epic way and the turmoil raging inside the Master was overwhelming. He needed this man, not as a student but as His friend. He needed Peter.
“My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”  Matthew 26:38
I think Peter tried. He’d finished telling Jesus earlier that he’d go to the grave for Him, surely staying awake would be easier.
But he couldn’t.
What was going to happen in several hours overwhelmed Peter’s Master.
“He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39
Photo Credit: Danilo Rizzuti /

When He raised up, He found them–His friends–asleep for the second time. “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26: 40 (emphasis, mine)

Peter didn’t understand. What temptation? An hour? An hour seemed like days this late. And he fell asleep again.
Jesus asked His Father to take the cup that was about to be poured on Him away, but then He asked for the Father’s will to be done. Again, He came back. Yet, He said nothing. In that moment what do you think Jesus thought? After going back to pray, He awoke them a third time.
The hour had come.
We know after that, Jesus was arrested. Peter denied Christ as many times as he had fallen asleep. Three. I wonder, had he stayed awake, watched, and prayed what would have happened.
Peter swore he’d die with Christ. His spirit was willing. But he failed to gear up through prayer, and his flesh was weak.
We scoff at Peter, shake our heads and think, “How could he spend three years with Jesus and leave Him at the worst hour of His life?”
But I’ve known Jesus more than three years, and I’ve turned my back on Him as well. I can relate to Peter.
When you feel tired, lazy, indifferent that’s when you’re at your most vulnerable. When you don’t pray,  you open wide the door to attacks.
Pray in the Spirit. Let the Spirit who lives inside you, guide and direct your prayers. Let Him take over dreams that hold glory for yourself and shape them into dreams that glorify the One Who prayed alone in the garden, to gear up for becoming your sin, and mine. The One Who stayed awake. Not only in the garden, but on the cross. When He refused the gall. When He chose to feel the pain, the sin–to keep a clear mind.
I need to work on staying awake.
 How about you? 
photo credit: bela_kiefer /

This is Holy Week. A time to remember what our Savior did for us. To remember how beautiful the Passion was–is. Still, Jesus intercedes for us. He knows the mind of the Spirit (His spirit) that lives within us and prays God’s will for our lives. Just like He did for Peter. He has confidence in us. Shocking isn’t it? 

 “And the Lord said,“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke: 22:30-32

Just like He had confidence in Peter, knowing the mistakes he would make before returning. That’s a God I wan to worship. That’s a God that inspires and motivates me to pray.
So what about you? Could you stand to stay awake more? Ever found when you didn’t pray over something the outcome was a failure?

**What’s the Point of Passover? I talk about it, HERE

I’m over at Living By Grace! Come by.

26 thoughts on “No Sleep for the Saints

  1. This is a great post, Jessica. My first reaction to a problem is usually to freak out. Then I whine for awhile. Then I get mad. Then I give up. Then I remember, oh yeah, I could pray about this. After all these years of loving Jesus, the weak, humanness in me still tries to handle everything by myself. I'm so thankful that when I do wake up, ask for His forgiveness, and hand something over to God, He's still there. He's never asleep. Thank God for His faithfulness, His grace, and His mercy!

    1. I can relate to the freak-out factor! And the whining…and getting mad.LOL

  2. I find that I'm usually so overwhelmed with the daily trials that I have to pray about, that sometimes the bigger things – loved ones who have been wandering for years, or praying about my daughter's future – slip through the cracks. I have to discipline myself to give it ALL to God!

    1. Girl, I been there!

  3. I love that I've come to a place in faith where when I can't sleep I'm nudged to prayer. I figure it's God's way of waking me up to pray.
    ~ Wendy

    1. That's something I've been teaching my daughter. When she wakes in the night and can't sleep it's most likely a nudge to pray! Great insight, Wendy!

  4. Prayer should be like breathing. And I'm getting better. More oxygen is a good thing. A vital thing.

    Great post, Jess!

    1. YES! I love this metaphor! Like breathing. Awesome!

  5. A) I'm laughing because I literally was just complaining about not being able to sleep last night. 🙂

    B) Yes, I need to stay awake more. I like what Lindsay said about praying being like breathing. I want, more and more, for prayer to be my first response to all good and not-so-awesome things!

    1. LOL You crack me up!

  6. Wonderful post. I know I need to pray more–for every situation in my life. As always you write with conviction and realness.

    1. Thank you, Terri! I need to pray more. We probably all do!

  7. Jessica, you wrote something here today that just hit me between the eyes: "Peter denied Christ as many times as he had fallen asleep." I never put those two things together. Wow – amazing insight, my Friend. And an incredible post to ponder, my gifted Friend. Hugs!

    1. Glad to help this morning! Thank you for sharing the link to the blog today. Love you bunches, fiend! HUGS!

  8. Beautiful post, Jess.

    Happy Easter!

    1. Happy Easter to you too! Thanks!

  9. So important to stay awake! Funny, I never correlated the number of times Peter fell asleep with his denials of Christ. And you're right – we've all denied Him. Wonderful to know that the Spirit intercedes for us when we don't have the words to pray. Thanks for this wonderful reminder to be on guard. To watch and pray. Happy Easter!

  10. Yes! Our Women's Ministry did a whole year of programs on just the topic of prayer.
    I love this quote from John Piper: “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”

    oooh…that gets me everytime!! So now everytime I sit down at my laptop, I need to pray first.

  11. I definitely know my flesh is weak. Could I stay awake? I hope so…but sometimes we're not as strong as we wish we were. Great post, Jessica!!

  12. Ah, it's so easy (easier) to be lazy–and we are. We're not diligent like she should be. There are serious battles going on! Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  13. Touching post! Have a wonderful Easter.

  14. How many times I've fallen asleep while praying…ugh…and yes, there's been many times I've not prayed over something than watched it fall apart. Yet His mercies are new every morning! So I get up and try, try again:) Beautiful post, Jessica.

  15. This is such a touching post! I need to work on praying first and not freaking out.

  16. Absolutely beautiful post, Jessica. And yes, I need to go through life with my eyes wide open, not half shut in apathy. Thank you for that reminder!

  17. As usual, Jessica, you're post is inspiring! Hope your Resurrection Day is full of blessings!

  18. Enjoy ur writing, great post.


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