And when He (Jesus) rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and He said to them, "Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation" (Luke 22:45-46).
Read Luke 22:45-46.
Matthew and Mark's Gospels tell us Jesus' prayer lasted about an hour-and He repeated it two more times. And each time He went to check on His disciples. He longed for their prayers, their presence, their support. How disheartening is must have been to find them asleep. Instead of rising up in prayer to meet the sorrow that weighed heavy on their spirits, they sunk beneath it in defeated sleep.
Jesus' exhausting struggle in prayer had prepared Him for the grueling trial to come. Yet in their sleep His disciples left themselves unprepared and vulnerable. He awakens them, urging them to pray so they can overcome the temptation to doubt and fall away from faith when they see Him condemned and executed. They will need to continue to pray in the hours and days to come until they see Jesus' standing alive before them on Sunday. Though they had failed to be there for Jesus, He is there for them.
When we face difficult trials in life-especially trials of faith-it is easy to grow weary and fatigued. Like the angel He sent to Jesus, God strengthens us through His Word and His gifts of Baptism and Holy Communion. We are empowered to bear up under those burdens, and wrestle our fears, struggles and heartaches. Through prayer God prepares our hearts to embrace His perfect, fatherly will, and to accomplish the amazing things He has planned for our lives here on earth.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, strengthen my faith through the trials I face, and teach me to persistently pray as You did. Then by Your mighty power, glorify Your Name through all I do and say. Amen.
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