1 Kings 14-15 Luke 22:31-46
“When he finished praying, he went to his followers and found them asleep because of their sadness. Jesus said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray for strength against temptation.’” (Luke 22:45-46 NCV)
I can only imagine the mood at the Last Supper. The disciples were probably expecting the joy and celebration of a Passover Feast. Instead, tension hung in the air. Jesus washed everyone’s feet because no one else would do a servant’s job. Instead of discussing Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, Jesus talked about His upcoming crucifixion. He announced that one of the disciples would betray Him. He told Peter that He was praying for him that he wouldn’t lose his faith after denying Jesus three times. He counseled them that they should get a weapon for protection. Then, as He went to pray, He told them that they should pray for strength against temptation. After He prayed, He had to wake them up and remind them that they needed to pray for strength against temptation.
In that situation, Luke notes that the disciples slept when they were praying because they were exhausted due to their sadness. A lot of people look down on the disciples for falling asleep when Jesus asked them to stay awake to pray. Let’s face it, prayer isn’t easy for most of us. We sing about a sweet hour of prayer, but often don’t last five minutes when we pray. Maybe we ought to be more forgiving to the disciples who were trying to pray late at night after a hard day. Perhaps, instead of condemning the disciples for sleeping, we ought to take the words of Jesus to heart and pray for strength against temptation in our own lives. Each of us has a day ahead of us that’s filled with temptation. We may be tempted to cut corners, to engage in unethical activities, to ignore people in need. We may be tempted towards moral infidelity. We may be tempted to let the busyness and the concerns of the day overwhelm our spirits so that we forget to focus on God. We may be tempted in ways I didn’t write down here. You know what temptations are hardest for you to overcome. Take some time to pray for strength against that temptation – and try to stay awake when you do.
Lord, I don’t know how I’ll be tempted today; I have so many weaknesses that sin can attack. I pray for Your strength today as You help me stand up against any and all temptations. Keep me from falling today and give me the strength to stay close to You.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.