MARK 14:37: “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?” (NiRV)
OBSERVATION: Have you ever tried to pray for an hour? I will never forget the testimony of one pastor who shared his passion and struggle with prayer. He was determined to pray for an hour. He set up a special “prayer closet”, with a map of the world, a bulletin board to list prayer requests, and entered into it with the determination to spend a quality hour of prayer! He began to pray his heart out. He prayed over the nations, he prayed over the prayer requests, he poured out his heart, until he had nothing more to pray about.
When he looked at his watch, he realized the shocking reality – only 10 minutes had passed!
Before we are too hard on Peter, James, and John, we need to be honest with our own struggle to pray. I don’t know of a single believer who does not believe in the importance of prayer. However, if we are really honest, how much time do we really spend in prayer? And really, why is it so vital that we develop a growing and sustainable prayer life. Jesus gives us two very vital reasons. One comes from His teaching on prayer, the other from His exhortation to His disciples in the garden.
- “Watch and pray. Then you won’t fall into sin when you are tempted. The spirit is willing. But the body is weak.” Mark 14:38 NIRV
- “”This is how you should pray. ” ‘Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored. May your kingdom come. May what you want to happen be done on earth as it is done in heaven.” Matthew 6:9-10 NIRV
We are all involved in a struggle in this life. We struggle against sin and our old nature. We struggle against temptation and the attacks of the enemy. And we struggle trying to discover the will of God for our lives. How are we to overcome in all of these struggles?
Jesus tells us clearly – “WATCH AND PRAY!”
- “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be honored among the nations. I will be honored in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 NIRV
We all need to learn how to watch (be still), and we all need to grow in our life of prayer! I struggled with this until I discovered a wonderful discipline of prayer that is called “worship based prayer”. This is a combination of worship, the Word, and prayer that focuses upon entering into the presence of God, hearing His voice, and offering up prayers in accordance to His Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Some have called this a “concert of prayer”, or the “harp and bowl” method of prayer (modeling the 24/7 worship and intercession that David instituted for the tabernacle, and that was also continued with the Temple dedication).
God does not hear us better when we combine worship and meditation on the Word with our prayers. Rather – WE HEAR GOD BETTER! I have found it is easy, enjoyable, and sustainable to enter into an hour of prayer following this pattern. It keeps us focused on the Word of God, surrendered to the presence of God, and open to the voice of God. Beginning Sunday, February 12, from 6 – 7 PM, we will gather as a congregation for a monthly concert of prayer. The purpose will be to intercede for our nation, to call upon the Lord for revival, to pray for the lost, and to hear His voice!
My prayer is that you will join us and find out how truly enjoyable it is to spend an hour in prayer! Let’s join to together to – “…WATCH AND PRAY…”!
In Jesus Name!