Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Mark 14:37-38 (NLT)
Watchful And Prayerful
Do you need any convincing? Do I need to be convinced about what? Do you need to be convinced that you will need to be watchful and prayerful if you will have any hope or chance at being able to resist temptation? No, I don’t need to be convinced. I have no doubts about my need to be watching and praying so that I will be able to resist temptation. Before we go any further let’s be clear about how you need to watch and pray. I’m listening. That’s good. I will ask you a few questions. Go right ahead. Who do you need to keep your heart and mind and life focused on? Who needs to have your undivided attention? Already you have asked me questions I would not have anticipated. How so? It is surprising that your questions begin with the word who. I would have thought your questions would have begun with the word what. Can you give me some examples? I thought you might ask me, “What do I need to watch out for or be on guard against?” or “Under what circumstances do I need to be especially watchful and prayerful?” Yes, those are good questions. Those are questions that you will need to carefully consider. They, however, are not the first and most important questions. Why is that? To that question, which is a good one, I will ask you another question. Do you think it is your watchfulness or your prayerfulness that will make you able to resist temptation? In other words, do you think it is your own efforts that will bring you victory? Now, I am beginning to understand. Tell me what you understand? My heart and mind and life need to be focused on you. As I watchfully and prayerfully set my heart and mind and life on you, you will make me able to resist temptation. You are the subject of my watchfulness and prayerfulness. Before now, before this very moment, I had thought that the subject of my watchfulness and prayerfulness was evil in the world. I thought something like, “Be watchful and prayerful so that evil doesn’t sneak up on me.” Don’t completely discard that thought. That thought is not wrong. But the priority of your focus needs to be on me. Your heart will be changed, and your mind transformed, and your life guided has you focus your full attention on me. Remember you have been told to submit yourself to me and the devil will flee from you? Yes, I remember that well. That’s good. You submit yourself to me by being watchful and prayerful in my presence, by giving your full attention to me. Do you understand? Yes, I understand. Will you be watchful and prayerful with me? Yes Lord, I will. That will be very good.
Lord, I will not sleepwalk through life. I will be watchful and prayerful. I will keep my heart and mind and life focused sharply on you. I will withstand temptation with all the strength that you give to me. I will live the life you have called me to live with and for you. Amen
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