“Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “Are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:37-38
My Father would often tell me that this passage would always deeply move him. Consequently, that was one of the reasons why he would always wake up one hour earlier than he had to for work in order to pray and spend his devotional time with God.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonians: “Pray without ceasing.” In Luke 18:1, Jesus also wrote about the need to pray and never give up. Prayer is an imperative need in the life of every Christian in order to live a life full of victory. There is not a single Christian in the world that can live an abundant life in Christ without praying. In His darkest moment, Jesus chose three of His disciples to accompany Him to pray. The Bible states that when He found His disciples, they were sleeping and speaking to Peter He said: “Are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
First of all, we read that Jesus appalled and deeply saddened asks: “Peter, are you asleep?” “Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour?” In other words, Jesus was reprimanding the disciples for haven fallen asleep and not praying with Him. He admonished them by stating: “In my darkest hour, when my soul is overburdened with deep sorrow and I have shared that I will greatly suffer and be crucified, you, my disciples were unable to pray with me? For us, these words spoken by Jesus may represent a reproach when we postpone or prioritize other things in our life before prayer.
Secondly, it is interesting to note that although there were three disciples that Jesus called to pray with Him, He only addressed Peter in particular. Why did Jesus refer specifically to Peter if all three were sleeping? The answer is simple. Peter was about to experience the darkest moment of his life by denying Jesus three times. Prior to this, Peter had boldly expressed with confidence that he would never do such a thing when Jesus predicted that before the rooster crowed three times, he would disown him. Jesus said to Peter: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” It is through prayer that we can become strengthened in order to overcome temptations.
Thirdly, Jesus warns us that although the spirit is willing, the body is weak. How is the body weak? It becomes weak depending on our mood. If we are sad, tired, or frustrated, we will always say No! to prayer. Jesus encourages us to pray and he set an example of what a life full of prayer should look like. The Bible states that very early Jesus would go up to the mountain to pray, spend full nights praying, and often would retire in solitude to pray. If Jesus who was God needed to pray, it becomes undeniably clear how vital prayer is in our lives.
Perhaps, due to your many occupations or your emotions you have neglected prayer in your life. If this is the case, remember the words that Jesus spoke to Peter: “Are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Amen!