Jesus was a man of prayer, and He spent the early morning hours alone with God seeking the Lord before His day filled up with teaching and ministry. Jesus knew that His disciples would need to learn to pray as He had been praying. He also knew that the hour of temptation was coming and His disciples needed to be ready.
The disciples were clueless as to how to pray since their role models were the religious leaders of the day. So they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, and Jesus taught them the Lord’s prayer as a model for prayer. One of the elements of this prayer in Matthew 6:13 is as follows:
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Jesus taught them to pray about not being led into temptation. Temptation can come in different ways and different forms. Since we live in a world of sin, everyone is subject to temptations. However, Paul taught that God would not allow believers to overcome with a temptation but he would give them a way out (See 1 Corinthians 10:13). The temptation can also come from the carnal nature. The scripture tells us that man can be enticed with his own lust leading him into sin (See James 1:13-15). The temptation could also be from the enemy attempting to move God’s people out of their calling as the devil tempted Jesus in the desert (See Matthew 4:1-11).
On the day that Jesus was going to be arrested and crucified, Jesus knew that He and His disciples were about to face the greatest temptation in His life! Jesus’ hour had come, and Jesus would have to fight His flesh and surrender His will all over again to the will of the Father. So He warned His disciples in the garden of Gethsemane as follows:
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:36-40
Jesus knew that His disciples were also going to be tempted and tested, and they needed to be ready for the temptation that was coming their way by watching and praying. However, Peter, James, and John did not heed His advice. They were either ignorant of the times and/or were too confident-thinking they can handle anything that comes their way.
We are in a similar danger. Some believers are not in tune with the times or see all the upheaval in the society at a carnal level. Therefore, they fight their battles in the flesh through words, arguments, and social media posts/shares. Other believers may feel that they are above all of the noise and nothing can shake them. The truth is that if Jesus’ disciples were shaken, then any believer can be shaken( See 1Corinthians 10:12)!
We live in uncertain times and the winds of change are blowing at a faster speed than ever before. That means we need to have greater stability in our faith in these uncertain times. Who would have imagined all the change that has come about in the last year!? We don’t know what is coming next, but we should spiritually prepare our hearts and minds for it.
The upcoming elections could bring about another level of instability and turmoil, and, as people of God, we need to remain stable and not allow the current of the culture to sweep us in its stream. We have to remain as the voice of faith, hope, and reason in the midst of all the division, hatred, and carnality. That means we need to watch, pray, be sensitive to the spirit of God, and understand the times we live in.
Jesus warned His disciples in the garden, and they chose to fall asleep because they did not see the urgency of the hour. On the same night they were all tempted. When Jesus was arrested, James and John along with the other disciples fled. Peter, on the other hand, was more confident than others. He decided to follow Jesus where they took Him and tried to stay close. However, when he was pressured, he denied Jesus three times on the same night when Jesus warned them to watch and pray!
Do you sense the urgency to watch and pray right now!? Jesus told Peter that He had prayed for him that his faith may not fail. Jesus is interceding on our behalf, but just as He told His disciples to watch and pray, the same instruction and warning applies to His people right now. Pray for yourself. Pray for your family. Pray for your friends. Pray for your church. Pray for the body of Christ. Pray for our country. Pray for the lost. Pray for this world. Pray for the Jesus’ return in His perfect timing!