We are quickly approaching Easter, and now especially, we should be living mindful of what Jesus did for us and be thinking about the importance of His words.
There in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus tells His disciples to “watch and pray” as He goes on to talk to His Father. A command of three words that are so important and so easily overlooked as we read the account of the days leading up to His death. Watch and pray are not words just for the disciples there with Jesus then but they are words for all of life for each one of us.
We find those words “watch and pray” repeated in many places in the Bible, here are a few:
Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” (Jesus words to the disciples.)
Luke 21:34, 36 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap… Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
Matthew 24:42 “Therefore keep watch because you don’t know on what day your Lord will come.”
1 Peter 4:7 “But the end of all things is at hand, therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. “
Jesus knew the danger for the disciples that night, and He knows the danger that lurks around us in the here-and-now. He wanted His disciples to be watchful, to be alert, with the same kind of vigilance as a guard on night-watch, and He asks the same of us.
1 Peter 5:8 tells us to be vigilant also.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.”
Jesus knows how weak we are, how easily distracted we are, how weary we become. He wants us to be disciplined and focused.
Genesis 4:7 speaks of sin waiting at our door. Temptation can so easily trap us when we are unaware. We fail to see how it lures us and holds us in bondage.
We become distracted:
- by the things of this world, material things that flash across a screen, or items we see in magazines or even things we see that our neighbors and friends have.
- by a job, or a relationship that attract us, maybe it’s the money or what we can get from that person.
- by our personal neediness. We become absorbed in our thoughts and feelings, our needs and wants.
In all of these distractions we lose sight of Him and His will and desires for us.
Satan can so easily lure our attention away and draw us into temptation. It may even be something that may seem “good.” Satan helps us to believe that it can be ours and that it will satisfy us. He may lead us to believe that we deserve it and God just doesn’t love us enough to give it to us.
Jesus knows our weakness. He tells us to be alert so we don’t get caught in that trap. Don’t open the door to the sin waiting on the other side.
We need to watch and while we are being vigilant and on guard we need to also be praying.
Colossians 4:2 tells us, “Devote yourselves to prayer and be watchful.”
We need the Lord to give us strength, to help us endure, we need His presence with us, we need Him to guide us every step of the way in this life here on earth. We need to have a connection with the Lord that is constant so that we may grow in grace.
Prayer is the conduit that we use to call down His power to take effect here on earth. When we remain prayerful our faith is firmed up and we are empowered to resist the devil. Without the Lord we are weak and in grave danger. When we are in connection with the Lord we are able to see the way of right and wrong. We are better able to detect the temptations that come our way and seem so harmless.
The Lord tells us to watch and pray because He loves us and wants us:
- to keep our hearts pure and apart from being with Him we cannot do that.
- to wait on Him for His timing so that He can give us His best in each situation.
- to be filled with peace, to have calmness, to have a quiet spirit.
- to enter into quiet communion with Him, and declutter our minds so we can be fully present.
- to give Him what is on our hearts, tell Him our neediness and our desperation.
- to wait for Him to speak, to give guidance, to encourage, to direct, or to give answer.
- to wait with our ears open to hear His voice, not distracted by the noise of the world.
- to pay attention so that nothing may hinder us in our walk with Him.
- to pray so He can give us daily victory, moment-by-moment.
We have to be intentional, growing in grace takes practice and devoted discipline.
So, once again, as we somberly remember the road to Calvary, let’s also remember to be faithful in watching and praying. It is such an important request from our Savior’s lips and the words are all the more precious because they are said for our safe-keeping and spoken in His amazing love for us.
Oh thank you, Jesus, for Your amazing grace. Empower us Lord to watch and pray.