Luke 22:44-46 “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.”
I cannot imagine the schedule that the disciples kept as they tried to keep up with Jesus. Everything He did had purpose. Everywhere they went, they were led of the Holy Spirit to be there. John testified:
John 21:25 “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”
So, to read that they were exhausted at the end of the day is not surprising. But there is a lesson to take away from the exchange between Jesus and His disciples. Jesus knew that His time had come. All preparations were now in place and the betrayal by Judas was about to take place. Jesus knew that the shock of that moment would try the faith of each of His disciples that night.
His prayers in agony over accepting the will of His Heavenly Father wrought such stress that the capillaries just under His skin burst with the stress of the whole situation. The sweat drops from His brow and looks like blood. Then, that statement that finalizes the struggle:
Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”
Coming back, Jesus finds his disciples have succumbed to sleep. The very activity they were admonished to engage, they could not even rise to the occasion to complete. Jesus knew:
Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
We say so often, “I’ll pray for you…” but often, the good intentions and well meaning words never bear any fruit to the throne of God. We are so soon removed from the very activity that will have the most effectiveness.
James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
EFFECT’UAL, a. Producing an effect, or the effect desired or intended; or having adequate power or force to produce the effect. The means employed were effectual.
FERV’ENT, a. L. fervens, from ferveo, to be hot, to boil, to glow.
1. Hot; boiling; as a fervent summer; fervent blood.
2. Hot in temper; vehement.
They are fervent to dispute.
3. Ardent; very warm; earnest; excited; animated; glowing; as fervent zeal; fervent piety.
Fervent in spirit. Rom 12.
So, by definition, our prayers should have such power and effect that they show cause a heat or a glow of zealousness and fervency.
Yet, our prayers are so attacked by our enemy that we fail to generate any heat and the fervency is lost in unfocused ramblings and cliches. I apologize to my Father when I find myself in such a state of mediocrity in my prayers. I imagine His face as I pray; listening to just what it is I am saying.
The privilege of prayer and the price paid for us to obtain it should cause us to pray with all the fervency and effectual we can muster. Often, all it takes is a fiery dart of worldly thought to distract our minds, or a warm comfortable position that causes us to drift from the very task at hand; and what was intended to be fervent prayer ends in a puddle of drool from sleep induced by the enemy.
Samuel Chadwick in his book, “The Path of Prayer” describes prayer as the highest form of communication we can have with our God. The direct access we now have through Jesus Christ merits our best effort. Taking the time to cleanse our hearts and minds; to solely focus on the voice of the Holy Spirit and revenge anything or anyone who would try to disrupt that time should be paramount in the mind and heart of every believer.
Every great awakening and revival starts with prayer. It is the need of the hour and the need of every child of God to pray. We are far too easily put to sleep and distracted from this duty and elevating our prayers to such a level that others would say, “Teach us to pray…”
Set aside time today to find a place without a phone or computer. Shut off the world and its distractions to prayer. Block out time where you and the Heavenly Father can have uninterrupted conversation. Give yourself enough time to quiet heart and focus on the Holy Spirit’s leading as you pray. Ask for help to not get distracted and stay focused on the conversation with Him.
When you and I approach prayer with such desire and intensity, God shows up in a very real way to guide and to converse with us. It is truly a battle of epic proportions. Our enemy will fight to keep us from coming boldly to the throne of grace.
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
The time of need is now.