Watch and Pray

Daily God Walk for Sunday, September 18, 2011

 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” – Mark 14:24-25

 Among the more difficult disciplines of our faith life is to maintain a consistent time of intimate prayer. Jesus had gone a little ways off to pray and had told his disciples to pray until he returned. In about an hour he went over to where they were and found them asleep. In grief he asks, “Could you not keep watch for one hour?”

I can not tell you the times I have purposed to pray for a specific period of time and in just a few minutes found myself falling asleep. I don’t think I am a rare exception, in fact, most of the people I talk to about this has the same problem.

Most of us, it seems, have little experience in protracted times of prayer. If we pray consistently at all it is usually just a few minutes then we are off to other tasks. After all, how long does it take ask God for our needs?

It seems that Jesus was asking for more than a casual prayer. He indicates that he expected they would still be praying when he returned after being gone for an hour. Think about it: What are we going to say to God for an hour? Yet that was what he expected from them that night.

I was once teaching a series of lessons on how to pray for an hour. A few weeks into the lessons an elderly lady gave a testimony of how her prayer life had changed. She said in all of her life she had not been able to pray more than five minutes at a time and the thought of praying for an hour was overwhelming. But her testimony was that since she had been practicing praying as we were teaching that she had a hard time finishing her prayer in two hours.

There is an extreme blessing which awaits those who learn to tarry in the spirit of prayer for extended periods of time.

 Prayer: Lord, I ask as your disciples asked, “Teach me to pray.”

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Paul ”Hope Preacher” Smith

Messages of inspiration for the journey of faith

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