Today during our Trail to the Tree devotional we read the account of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane when He was praying before being betrayed. The scripture reading was Mark 14:32-42.
32 Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. 34 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”
35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”
37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
39 Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. 40 And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him.
41 Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”
After reading we prayed and went about getting the kids ready for bed. Tucked them in, kissed them goodnight and sat down for a few moments of quite.
But I couldn’t stop replaying in my mind; “are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
I began to examine myself, my walk, how much time to I devote to things? Schooling, reading, preparing for a speaking engagement, facebook…..prayer. Can I not keep watch one hour?
So often prayers are quick, one liners, bless this, thanks for that, and while there is nothing wrong with that, there is something wrong if that’s all I give. When was the last time I prayed – really prayed? On my face before a Holy God, seeking His will, calming the noise and listening for His voice, rather than rambling on with mine? I am guilty I have not kept watch. I have not worshipped God in prayer, earnestly seeking Him for a long time – too long.
I am guilty of sleeping. Sleeping while attacks rage, sleeping while I should be seeking, sleeping because I chase after earthly desires. My heart has been trying to serve two masters. And all the while I claim Christ, I am sleeping.
Conviction is a powerful force. It is a moving force; a force that moves one toward Christ – it’s a wake-up call to those who have fallen asleep.
I am convicted.
As I walk through preparing my heart to celebrate the resurrection, somewhere my eyes have grown weary, I have stopped praying while giving up my Lenten sacrifice, I just move though the motions ‘I can’t have that, I gave it up for Lent.’ My soul sleeping. I know what had to happen to bridge my path back home. I know the torture the my Savior endured for my salvation. But somehow in the pace of life it gets blurred. I get tired. I stop praying.
If the purpose of Lent is to focus on Christs sacrifice, then I have failed. I have not ‘cheated’ on what I gave up but I have fallen asleep. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Oh I am weak. I war against growing lazy in my walk. Can I not keep watch one hour? For all He has given can I not give back this?
Lent, among other things, has shown me what an utter failure I am. But in that failure I find Christ. I find redemption – I find hope. I find that my soul awakes to Him – to my need for a Savior, my inability to do anything on my own. Through my failure I worship, in prayer and in song, in thankfulness and in sorrow, in love and in the very real knowledge that it took the death of the Son of God on a cross to bear my sins to bring me home. And for that I worship Him, awake and alive.