Matthew 26:40-41 – Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” NIV
The setting for this question is the Garden of Gethsemane. It was the night before Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. He pulls aside His three closest disciples, Peter, James, and John, and it is obvious that Jesus is sorrowful and troubled. He even admits that to these three that He is “sorrowful to the point of death” and asks them to “stay here and keep watch.”
He goes off by Himself to pray; and when he returns, he finds them sleeping. This is when Jesus asks the above question. He even admonishes them to pray for themselves because the temptations will be great. Even though their spirits want to follow Jesus, they are, also, suffering from a lack of emotional and physical energy.
Jesus, their rabbi, who is in great distress, asks for an hour of their time. Yet they are too physically spent to give it. I’m pretty sure that Jesus is stressed out over what is happening on this earth today. It is quite probable that He would ask us to watch with Him and pray about the situation. Most of us say that we believe in the power of prayer; but do we pray? Do we spend time in God’s presence in the name of Jesus, and in the power of the Holy Spirit seeking God, interceding for others as well as ourselves, and listening to how He would have us join Him on mission?
I have to admit that this is difficult for me. I find myself spending much more time reading and studying His Word than I do in prayer. Sure, there are times during the day that I pray as I go; but it is too easy for me to go about doing things for Jesus rather than just spending time being with Jesus. This is why I find that I have to resort to spiritual disciples and at times just retreat from all that goes on around me. I need to do it more often. What would happen if the Body of Christ around the world spent more time keeping watch with Jesus and praying?