Day 35: Could You not watch with me for one hour?
Jesus’ call to watch with Him was meant to keep the disciples alert and vigilant. In their limited understanding they had no inkling of how important this invitation and command was for them. He wanted them to be preparing, but they kept giving in to their human weakness, instead of seeking the strength of the Father as Jesus had. But the call went deeper than “watch.” When He returned and found them sleeping, he said, “Could you not watch with me one hour?” He was summoning them to more perseverance. His use of the phrase one hour implied that one hour seemed such a little amount of time to ask them to pray, especially when the stakes were so high.
Jonathan Edwards says, “He set them an example of that which He commanded them, for though they slept He watched, and poured out His soul in the those earnest prayers that you have heard of.” Edwards goes on to say, “And He was often recommending earnestness in crying to God in prayer. In the parable of the unjust judge, Luke 18 at the beginning: ‘And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.’” In fact, where Jesus instructs us to ask, seek, and knock in prayer, the verb tense indicates doing these things in a prevailing way—ask (and keep on asking), seek (and keep on seeking), and knock (and keep on knocking). How much have we missed out on from God’s blessings because we have not been persistent or focused enough to watch with Him for one hour—or whatever season of time that is necessary to gain the victory or receive the answer from God’s hands?
If they had only persevered, Edwards says, “In this way they should hold out to the end as Christ did. Christ in this way was successful, and obtained the victory, and won the prize; He overcame…So Christians should persevere and hold out in the great work to the end; they should continue to run their race until they had come to the end of it; they should be faithful unto death as Christ was and then, when they have overcome, they shall sit down with Him on His throne.” This is possible only if we will watch with Him until the breakthrough happens.
•Do you regularly set aside time to watch in prayer? What does this look like for you? Do you think it rises to the level of what Jesus calls us to?
• How often do you sense special summons to prayer from the Lord? Do you respond right away? Do you persevere until a breakthrough?
• Are you sensing a challenge from the Lord for more dedicated seasons of prayer? If so, what is your plan to follow through?
Lord, there have been too many times when Your rebuke, “Could you not watch with me,” strikes home with regret for what I have missed. Please, continue to invite me, rouse me, summon me, alert me. May I grow in watchfulness and the kind of perseverance necessary to gain the victories in prayer to which You have called me. Make me more aware of the possibilities of perseverance!
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries