Matthew 26:40, “Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour? he asked Peter.”
Have you ever fallen asleep while you were supposed to be praying? I don’t mean falling sleep in bed while praying and fellowshipping with God, but rather slipping off into sleep while praying at church or in your devotional times. There was a time I committed to praying at the church four days a week from 5am to 8am and I would often fall asleep on the floor. I kept trying to convince myself I was only lying down to be humble before God but I fell asleep every time. One day I slept on my Bible and drooled on the pages. I can relate to the disciples falling asleep while praying with Jesus because during that season I slept more than I prayed!
So often, just like Jesus’ disciples, we give our best energies to everything else, but when it comes to praying, we give God the leftovers. Then we wonder why our prayers lack passion and are so powerless. Why is it so easy to stay up late to watch our favorite show or team play, but we get tired when fellowshipping with God? Could it be that we don’t really appreciate our time with God or see the value in developing a vibrant prayer life?
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not advocating we make prayer a chore and punish ourselves when we fall short of our self-imposed standards. However, I want to challenge all disciples to give God our best in prayer. We should consider prayer a spiritual discipline and make our body obedient to pray for an hour a day. Just as an athlete goes into strict training to discipline their body for their sport, we should discipline our schedule to make praying a priority. Is it too much to ask that we pray for one hour a day, just half the time we give to a movie?
It’s true we should pray without ceasing and always be in a continual state of fellowship with the Holy Spirit in our thoughts. But I also believe we should be like Jesus and make specific times to get alone with the Father and fellowship with Him (Mark 1:35). When I get alone with God everyday for an hour or more, I find myself encouraged and empowered. There is nothing more important to me than my alone times with God. As the old song goes, “And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”
What were the results from the time Jesus spent praying while the disciples were sleeping? He was arrested and faced the crucifixion with courage and the disciples ran away in fear. Times of testing will come to everyone but your prayer life will determine your outcome; whether you are courageous or fearful.
Consider the following ways to be dedicated to God in prayer; (1) Pray consistently every day for an hour alone with God, (2) Pray at times when you have the energy to focus and spend quality time with God, (3) Talk to God from your heart and let Him lead you in your prayers, and lastly, (4) Pray with passion and purpose by the power of the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus comes to you and asks you to pray with Him for an hour, what are you going to say?
Do you believe it’s important to spend an hour with God every day in prayer?
- Set up a time each day to have a consistent prayer life that is full of energy and passion.
- If you miss your prayer time, don’t beat yourself up. Rather, repent and move forward in grace without condemnation. You’re not earning “extra credit” with God; you’re building a meaningful relationship with your Father.
- Practice God’s presence in internal prayer throughout the day, “Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).