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
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?
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!