Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41
A German bank employee was in the middle of transferring 62.40 euros from a customer’s bank account when he accidentally took a power nap at his desk. He dozed off while his finger was on the “2” key, resulting in a 222 million euro (300 million dollar) transfer into the customer’s account. The fallout from the mistake included the firing of the employee’s colleague who verified the transfer. Although the mistake was caught and corrected, because he hadn’t been watchful, the sleepy employee’s lapse almost became a nightmare for the bank.
Jesus warned His disciples that if they didn’t remain alert, they too would make a costly mistake. He took them to a place called Gethsemane to spend some time in prayer. As He prayed, Jesus experienced a grief and sadness such as He’d never known in His earthly life. He asked Peter, James, and John to stay awake to pray and “keep watch” with Him (Matthew 26:38), but they fell asleep (vv. 40–41). Their failure to watch and pray would leave them defenseless when the real temptation of denying Him came calling. In the hour of Christ’s greatest need, the disciples lacked spiritual vigilance.
May we heed Jesus’ words to remain spiritually awake by being more devoted to spending time with Him in prayer. As we do, He’ll strengthen us to resist all kinds of temptations and avoid the costly mistake of denying Jesus.
What part of your prayer life needs to be more devoted and disciplined? How can you intentionally spend more time alone with God this week?
Jesus, because I’ve been spiritually sleeping, I haven’t been praying. And because I haven’t been praying, I haven’t depended on You. I’m sorry. Please help me to spend more time with You.
Jesus’ final prayers before His arrest and crucifixion took place in Gethsemane, which means “oil press,” a garden area among the olive groves on the Mount of Olives. Like an olive in a press, Jesus faced extreme pressure. According to Baker’s Encyclopedia of the Bible, the Mount of Olives is the “prominent north-south ridge in the Judean mountains lying due east of Jerusalem and the Kidron Valley.” This mountain features three summits and two intervening valleys. The central hill is the traditional Mount of Olives (2,684 feet). Its western face collects rainfall from the Mediterranean that along with the decomposed limestone makes for fertile orchards.