Matthew 26:40-41 “And he cometh unto the
disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Spiritual Attention Deficit Disorder might be defined this way:
The inability to stay focused while reading your Bible, praying, listening to a sermon or teaching, or service for God in a capacity that requires an elongated time element.
Technology can be blamed, but there is a problem with that assumption. A phone or a computer requires a user to interface with it. It cannot operate unless we push, press, or click them.
Jesus admonished His closest friends for being unable to watch with Him in prayer. Jesus was operating under the influence of the Holy Spirit and received the energy to do what He needed to fulfill His Father’s will.
The disciples did not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at this point. They were operating solely on their character and willpower. Jesus pointed this out when He said: “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Many of us have started praying only to find our minds distracted with lists and activities of the day that made us forget just what it was we were praying about. Others leave their phones nearby and hear the ‘ding’ or vibration of notification and wonder if it might be necessary.
Next thing we know, we’ve wasted time, and our schedule deems it necessary for us to move on.
In churches today, the days of the all-night prayer meeting have given way to social activities, and our prayer closets are in desperate need of a good sweeping. We know we should pray but fail to carry it out.
After reading this passage, I had to ask myself, when was the last time I prayed for over an hour? Thirty minutes? Any time over ten minutes?
We have all had seasons of prayer that have allowed us to answer affirmatively, but for the most part, we fall short of the amount of time spent on our knees in one-on-one prayer with God.
I am constantly praying, in conversation with God about the many things throughout my day. But to have a solely focused time lasting an hour or more is not something I can admit happens daily or with any frequency.
Many have enough trials and tribulations to warrant the prayer needed. Yet, we fall short of spending the time until we receive an answer. Which is one of the reasons we don’t pray.
When we spend the time praying and see no answer. It becomes disappointing, frustrating, and begs the question, “What’s the use?”
Back in the garden, Jesus wanted partners in prayer for the darkest time of His life here on earth. Having someone with whom we can pray without the worry of judgment or ridicule for how we pray or what we say is important.
Inviting the Holy Spirit to be our prayer partner in private prayer is needed and necessary to have an effectual, fervent prayer. The Holy Spirit filters our prayers to fit the Father’s will and even utters things we do not say.
Romans 8:26-27 “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
The church needs to see answers to prayer.
Before that can happen, she needs to prepare to be and do what is necessary to receive an answer. Samuel Taylor Coleridge said:
“The act of praying is the very highest energy of which the human mind is capable; praying, that is, with the total concentration of the faculties. The great mass of worldly men and of learned men are absolutely incapable of prayer.”
Samuel Chadwick, in his book “The Path of Prayer,” said:
“Prayer touches infinite extremes. It is so simple that a little child can pray, and it is so profound that none but a child-heart can pray.”
Those who gain mastery in any form do so through arduous devotion to practice. To learn how to pray is to pray and keep praying.
I believe that our enemy Satan knows and has felt the sting of praying saints who fought their battles on their knees. He knows the value of God’s promise to us.
Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
Simple, yet profound.
How many of us will come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and grace to help in time of need?
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.”
We excuse our lack of answers, blaming God, who has said we have already overcome. The world and the flesh rise when we give them life to oppose all that would bring about the victory. When we are more yielded to the world and to our flesh, we become their servant.
Romans 6:16 “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
Truth be told, we have all experienced the bondage of one sin or another. But, we must not allow ourselves to stay there. God’s promise tells us:
Romans 6:19 “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.”
We must do everything in our power to obtain the answers to our prayers. They become evidence that God not only heard us but answered because He loves us!
May we do what is needed to show a lost and dying world that our God is alive and well and answers our prayers.