Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before he was crucified. He prayed three different times while also warning the disciples to pray. While Jesus was strengthened by the angel, the disciples continued their slumber. How many times do we as Christians choose to sleep rather than fight on our knees as we see Jesus doing this night. Let’s take a closer look at this story.
Read Matt. 26:36-56, Luke 22:39-53 and Mark 14:32-41.
I recommend reading all the accounts because you will gain more information by reading them. I want to focus on Jesus’ prayer and the disciples lack of prayer.
Summary of Story
Jesus went into the garden and told His disciples to pray that they might not enter into temptation. He then walked away from them to pray by Himself. While He was praying an angel appeared to strengthen Him. He prayed so fervently that sweat became like drops of blood, falling to the ground. After praying the first time, Jesus walked over to the disciples and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:40-41 NASB). Jesus then left them to pray again. A second time he went to the disciples and found them sleeping. He left them again and prayed a third time. When Jesus returned he said, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand. . .” (Matt. 26:45 NASB).
Are you sleeping?
Jesus prayed 3 different times and found the disciples asleep every time he returned to them. He kept warning them to pray, but they would not listen. How many times does the Lord find us sleeping when he has sent us warning after warning? He has sent snow storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts and floods, but many in the church continue to slumber. It is time that we wake up to see what the Lord is trying to tell us. Based on scripture, I believe we are living in the end times. We should be shouting it from the roof tops and witnessing to every lost person we know.
Results of too much sleep:
Now let’s take a look to see what happened as a result of Jesus’ prayer time and the lack of prayer in the disciples. After Jesus had agonized in prayer three different times, he was led away peacefully by the guards. Not only did he leave peacefully but told Peter to put away his sword, He healed the ear of the slave and He submitted to the will of God. Recall that an angel appeared to strengthen Him when He prayed. His prayer time resulted in peace and strength to endure the beating and the cross. When He was on trial, He did not defend Himself.
The disciples on the other hand abandoned Jesus during His time of need. Peter even denied Jesus three times. I wonder if they would have acted differently if they had spent those hours in prayer as Jesus had instructed them. Their flesh was weak that night and they gave into the temptation to flee persecution.
I hope that we will learn a valuable lesson from this story. We need to pray always and not lose heart (Luke 18:1). Don’t wait until the time of need to pray, but prepare beforehand. Jesus didn’t wait until he was seized to pray, but prepared beforehand.