Today’s Text of Encouragement:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled, distressed, or agitated. You believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely on God; believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely also on Me. In My Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you; for I am going away to prepare a place for you.”
Today’s Study Text:
“And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and He said to Peter, ‘What! Are you so utterly unable to stay awake and keep watch with Me for one hour? All of you must keep awake (give strict attention, be cautious and active) and watch and pray, that you may not come into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’”
“Friends Who Watch and Pray”
“The great battles, the battles that decide our destiny and the destiny of generations yet unborn, are not fought on public platforms, but in the lonely hours of the night and in moments of agony.”
Samuel Logan Brengle
What unanswered need in my life would I love to have my closest friends be with me to “watch and pray” about?
Have I offered my presence to others who need me to “watch and pray” for them?
“The greatest thing anyone can do for God and for man (or another woman) is to pray. You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.”
S. D. Gordon
“There is nothing that makes us love a man (or woman) so much as praying for him (or her).”
They had a wonderful evening of fellowship with their Master.
When the supper was ended, this group of twelve crossed the Kidron Valley and made their way into the familiar garden where Jesus had often escaped the crush of the pressing crowds for quiet reflection and communion with His Father.
But on this particular night, those closest to Jesus noted a different demeanor. Gone were the joyful cries of children waving palms as Jesus rode toward the city of Jerusalem. There were no crowds waiting to be fed or needing to be healed.
No, tonight, as Jesus expressed to his dear friends, His Spirit was deeply troubled. Grief covered His countenance and His Spirit was depressed, for events of such importance were to be faced in the coming hours that at this moment in human history, the very human Jesus, longed for what every human heart yearns for in times of distress – the tender caring and faithful companionship of those who will help you bear your burden of sorrow and affliction.
It was Jesus, who asked those He trusted the most on earth, Peter, James, and John, to walk with Him into the belly of Gethsemane’s darkness, where a battle, such as never had been fought before, would transpire. As the Son of God fell to the ground, He was confronted by the horrific thought that the toxin of sin could bring eternal separation between His Father and Himself. The weight of the world rested upon the Saviour.
Just close your eyes for a moment and imagine yourself as one of the three disciples whom Jesus asked to walk into the woods with Him. How would you have felt if Jesus asked you to please, “Watch and pray?” He didn’t ask these three friends to stay up for days, fasting and praying. All He asked was that for one hour, maybe even less, they would lift their voices heavenward, and not just for Him. Jesus didn’t just ask for prayers to be offered for Himself. He encouraged those closest to Him to pray for themselves, too. What an act of unselfish love on the part of our Saviour. And yet, three times as Jesus went back to His friends, those He cared for so deeply, He found them asleep. They couldn’t even “watch and pray” for an hour.
But before I criticize these disciples whom Jesus loved so much, I turned my gaze to my internal self and thought about the times in my own life when Jesus may have asked me to “watch and pray” for Him. Maybe it was some individual, a child of God, who needed my encouragement, and yet, I was too busy with my own life and my own needs to be concerned enough to stop along the way and “watch and pray” at the sound of my Saviour’s voice.
Over the last few weeks, the blessing of prayers, sent to heaven, by friends who will “watch and pray” with you was brought close to my own life and opened up to me a very new light as I faced my own challenging moments in time. On one particular Sunday evening, I felt so overwhelmed by circumstances beyond my control. Feeling, as many of you do because you have shared your stories with me, that your human strength is not equal to the trials you are facing, I poured my heart out to God, asking for the sufficiency of His grace in my life to meet the challenges of each new day.
Later that night, the phone rang. It was my dear friend Shari, offering her love and uplifting joyfulness. During the night, my prayer partner Myrt, in Finland, emailed me. “God woke me up in the night, Dorothy. He wanted me to pray for you!” That’s what she lovingly wrote. Later, that day, dear Georgia, emailed me from Los Angeles. Her notes are the highlight of my day – filled with spiritual insight tremendous love, and the promise of her prayers. And not least of all, my mother called just to remind me, (and in this case I’d never forget) that she prays for me everyday!
You see, these precious ones in my life are so open to Jesus’ voice that when He asks them to “watch and pray” for one of His girls here on earth, they hear His voice. They stand at attention. And they stay awake and pray.
If there is a single lesson that I personally want to learn from the depths of the wooded Garden with Jesus, it is to be ready at all times to “watch and pray” when He asks me to. Especially for those needs in the lives of the individuals Christ has put along my pathway.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’ longing was for His friends to come close to him by “watching and praying.” Today, He asks no less of His “Garden” daughters and sons – He calls out to you and me, “Please watch and pray.”
“You, Lord, are in this place,
Your presence fills it.
Your presence is peace.
You, Lord, are in my heart,
Your presence fills it.
Your presence is peace.
You, Lord, are in my life,
Your presence fills it.
Your presence is peace.”
“To be there before you, Lord, that’s all.
To shut the eyes of my body,
To shut the eyes of my soul,
And be still and silent,
To expose myself to you who are there,
exposed to me.
To be there before you, the Eternal Presence.
I am willing to feel nothing, Lord,
to see nothing,
to hear nothing.
Empty of all ideas,
of all images.
In the darkness.
Here I am, simply,
To meet you without obstacles,
In the silence of faith,
Before you, Lord.”
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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