Sunday, October 02, 2005

Matthew 26:41: Watch and Pray!

Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

When I read this passage of Scripture there is part of me that imagines Christ, coming upon his slumbering followers, smiling sadly to Himself. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. I imagine all those moments where He showed them His power, where He healed countless people, where He calmed the seas and walked on water, flashing before His eyes. They had hearts to serve, but had not realized that without prayer the flesh will eventually overcome the spirit. Prayer gives us the strength to endure.

I look at my own life and see that this is true. I could list a ridicules number of times that I succumb to my flesh simply because I had chosen not to fall to my knees in prayer that day. And the more I neglected my prayer life the easier it was to give into the temptations set before me. And it kept on like that for the longest time, until finally I reached a point where my world was falling apart.

And seeing the hopelessness of the situation outside of Christ's will I dropped to my knees weeping. I begged for forgiveness, I repented of everything I could think of and renewed my commitment to follow His will.

I wish I could tell you I lived happily ever after faithfully following Him in prayer. I tried, I do try, but every now and again I stumble. And it is that stumbling that is a direct result from my lack of prayer and my shallowness in the Bible. Today, looking back I remember a moment where I truly wanted God's will, but I put confidence in my flesh thinking I could resist my temptations without prayer. I smile, quite sadly, to myself as the moment flashes through my mind as I read the passage again. Indeed, my spirit is willing, but without prayer I have no strength to resist the flesh. Without a base in God's word I have no rock to stand on as the waves of temptation come crashing in.

Jesus told the disciples to do two things to avoid temptation. He told them to watch, watch what? I think to watch Him. It is in the garden that we see Christ in such a human way. He is deeply burdened, it would be so easy to follow His flesh, to give into His temptations and not bear the cross for our sins. He told them to watch as He dropped to His knees in prayer and willfully chose to submit His walk to God's will. And He told them to pray. It is prayer that sustains us. It is in prayer that we become refreshed. It is prayer that gives us the strength not to give into the difficult moments.

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