February 16, 2004Email to a FriendPrint
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” Mark 14:38
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So goes the saying. Preventive measures are stressed in many areas today. Diet and physical fitness gurus promote aerobics, jogging, exercise machines, health foods, weight reduction programs, and special cookbooks. Anti-smoking campaigns target prevention of cancer and heart disease. Some people, however, ignore all preventive efforts.
Jesus sees danger ahead as He visits the Garden of Gethsemane with His disciples. He knows that suffering and death await Him. He realizes that the disciples will also be tested severely. He asks them to pray with Him. Preventive prayer works, not to remove problems and temptations but to tap God’s powerful resources for handling them.
Note the outcome. The disciples fall asleep, despite Jesus’ efforts to rouse them. They do not pray. Consequently, when the hostile crowd comes, they fall into temptation. They desert Jesus and flee. Peter denies his Lord three times.
Observe the contrast. Jesus practices preventive prayer. His soul overwhelmed with sorrow, He prays three times for the Father’s will to be done in His life. The Father equips Him to bear the intense suffering. Instead of falling into temptation, Jesus steadfastly and silently goes to Annas, Caiaphas, Pilate, Herod, and Calvary. He fully and completely bears the sins of the world and wins the victory.
How many times we fail to pray! Without the regular habit of communing with God, we are in danger of falling into sin when the crisis comes to test our faith. Thank God that Jesus did not fail but won the victory for us. Through His Word and sacraments He strengthens also our prayer life.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, teach me to pray. Amen.
(Devotions from “My Daily Devotion” by Dr. Stephen J. Carter, copyright 1988, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. For ordering information, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit www.cph.org.)