Read Luke 22
Focus on verse 45-46
While it is important for us to get enough sleep, it is also important to know when to be awake. We have occasionally taken long trips where made the choice to drive straight through the night rather than stop to sleep. During these marathons of sleeplessness, I have occasionally reached the stage that I call “painful to be awake”. It is not really physically painful; it is more like my entire body is screaming at my mind to shut down. All I can think about is how wonderful it would feel to close my eyes! The temptation to do so is nearly overwhelming, and all my effort and energy goes into staying conscious. If this occurs while I am driving, it is the point at which I take the next exit and pull the car over and either get out and walk around for a bit, or just lock the doors and take a fifteen minute nap. The older I get the less appealing trips like this become for me.
In today’s reading Jesus leads His disciples out to the Garden of Gethsemane where He instructs them to pray that they will not fall into temptation. (v. 40) He then moves off a few steps further to pray by Himself.
And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
It is immediately following this that Judas shows up with the temple police to arrest Jesus and literally all hell breaks loose! From the text we get the impression that Jesus knew this was coming. Despite all Jesus warnings and even His clear declarations to them of what would happen to Him, the disciples seem to be caught by surprise.
Could it be that the reason they are caught unprepared is because they did not heed the caution of Jesus to pray but allowed sleep to overtake them. Could it be that like the disciples we often do not heed the Lord’s instruction to pray and as a result find ourselves powerless to resist the deceptive schemes of the enemy?
I wonder if in this ninth hour of church history, the majority of the American church is in the same predicament that the disciples found themselves in. Instead of being faithful to pray, we have been figuratively sleeping the time away, so now when we need to be strong and vigilant to resist temptation, we are caught rubbing the sleep from our eyes, powerless to act with any kind of plan.
My hope is that it is not yet too late. Perhaps if enough of the people in the American church wake up and begin to pray as Jesus instructed, we may yet see the Lord touch the lives of multitudes in this nation who currently find themselves without hope. I wonder is Jesus question to many of our churches today might be the same as it was to His disciples – “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”