On prayer and slumber

“Are you sleeping while you’re praying?” - Relient K

Before we start, open up your Bible to Matthew 26:36 and read through verse 46.

Did you do that yet? Alright, now we can start.

In Matthew 26:36-46 we read about Jesus going out to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, with Him, He brought 3 of His disciples. He asked them to pray with Him then He went away to pray alone.

First of all, if Jesus, who was God in human flesh, spent so much time in prayer then shouldn’t we too?

Secondly, when Jesus came back to His disciples they were asleep. This process would repeat two more times, Jesus would ask His disciples to pray, then He would go off to pray to come back to find his disciples sleeping.

In the words of Relient K, “When you praise God do you mean it, or are you sleeping while you’re praying?” Are you attentive, do you watch yourself to make sure your mind doesn’t wander? Do you pay attention to the words you say or is it just “Thank you for this food. Amen.”? Do you not realize that you are speaking to the God of all creation when you are praying? Do you treat God like you treat someone you don’t want to talk to or do you treat Him with the respect He deserves?

When you pray you should be awake! I don’t mean just physically awake, but are you spiritually awake? You should be. Do not be like the disciples in this case, be like Christ, who was attentive in prayer, who focused in the hardest moment of His earthly life right before He went to the cross. If He can focus on prayer in the garden, you can take time to pray in the circumstances that you face in everyday life.

Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit…” Rejoice, give thanks, and pray always! It is God’s will for you to pray! Not because He wants to force you to do something, but because He wants you to spend time with Him.

I challenge you to do something today, (what I really mean by today is everyday of your life) anytime you think to pray, take some time and do it. Do you think that your human desire would just randomly want to pray? No, when you feel the need to pray, that’s the Holy Spirit working in you, pray right then and there. Do not quench the Spirit. We see the Spirit work in very strong ways in Acts, not when people are sitting around doing nothing, but when people are praying and seeking to live out the Lord's encouragement and instruction in those times. Maybe if our americanized Christian church would start praying more we would see more powerful works done in Christ.

Take some time right now to spend in prayer. Rejoice, give thanks, and do not quench the Spirit, but pray that the Spirit would work in and through you.

  • L. Knight