Stay Alert and Pray

The reasons why Jesus took only three disciples closer to the point where He would pray to the Father is a bit unknown, but being reminded that God does everything in His perfect will and for our purpose, is sufficient. Jesus was very burdened about the hour fast approaching where He would be arrested, beaten and crucified. If we were encountering due rest, we would want our most trusted prayer partners with us, yet the three disciples fell asleep, as if nothing was concerning them about the burden Jesus was bearing . Let’s try to understand why it was important for the disciples to stay alert, so that we might do the same.

DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2021-04-10
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Matthew 26:40-41
TRANSLATION: The Message (MSG)

BIBLE TEXT: 40-41 When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”

OBSERVATION: The reasons why Jesus took only three disciples closer to the point where He would pray to the Father is a bit unknown, but being reminded that God does everything in His perfect will and for our purpose, is sufficient. Jesus was very burdened about the hour fast approaching where He would be arrested, beaten and crucified. If we were encountering due rest, we would want our most trusted prayer partners with us, yet the three disciples fell asleep, as if nothing was concerning them about the burden Jesus was bearing . Let’s try to understand why it was important for the disciples to stay alert, so that we might do the same.

APPLICATION: It may seem like we try hard to let our minds wander when troubles arise, because we really don’t want to deal with the drama, and in most cases, the sorrow or disappointment that result from critical times. We could see in verse 38 that Jesus instructed the 11 disciples to stay and pray, while He went on a bit further to also pray. Surely the disciples saw from the Master’s countenance that He was heavily burdened, or sad, about something. The three disciples chosen to go even further with Jesus must have surely felt entrusted by Jesus to be His closest ally in this time of deep concern, yet it seems like they may have taken that trust way too lightly. But why would Jesus warn them about temptation? As in every case of Jesus’ ministry, he chose just the right opportunity/moment, or the gathering, to apply His principles in a way that would open the eyes of His hearers. Jesus saw that the disciples had let their guard down and they lost track of what was actually going on in their Master’s mind and heart at the time. Temptation is most effective based on the condition in which it finds us. If we are weak and powerless, then there’s is a greater chance for temptation to have its way with us. We know from experience that temptation overcomes just about anyone, for it impacts us all with no respect for the person weakened by sin or laziness. That’s why presidents, pastors, priests, bosses, parents and children comes too mind as being impacted by temptation, and many have fallen because of that impact. Jesus knew that He had only asked the disciples to stand by Him – support Him mentally, prayerfully and through encouragement. Obviously their take on His trust meant little to them, because they all fell asleep. God has given us the opportunity and responsibility of being His faithful servants here on earth while we’re here. I wonder how He might rate us on our faithfulness to His tasks? Have we fallen asleep because of lack of concern and/or commitment? Will He praise us as He welcomes us into His kingdom when life on earth is over, or will He scold us as He did with the disciples? We serve a loving, forgiving Father, but while He blesses us to be His witness here on earth, let’s make every effort to not fall into temptation, but instead be diligent about His work and alert for His return.

PRAYER: We are always saddened when we remember how You suffered and died for our Salvation Lord Jesus, but we are forever thankful and grateful. Thank You for the reminder in Your Word today about the importance of staying alert and ready for Your return, and in doing so, build a solid defense against temptation. It is so unfortunate that Satan tempts Your children so much, and has caused a certain amount of disgrace to Your good name. Please Lord, fill us with Your grace each day and empower us to stand strong in our Christian walk so that others will see Jesus and nothing of the weakness that we are made of. In Christ we can do all things – for Your glory. Of our own power we are very prone to temptation and misrepresenting the name of Jesus. Oh that You may rule and reign in us Lord Jesus for Your glory alone. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

A Call To Prayer and Witness

The Holy Bible (The Contemporary English Version – Colossians 4:2-6): 2 Never give up praying. And when you pray, keep alert and be thankful. 3 Be sure to pray that God will make a way for us to spread his message and explain the mystery about Christ, even though I am in jail for doing this. 4 Please pray that I will make the message as clear as possible. 5 When you are with unbelievers, always make good use of the time. 6 Be pleasant and hold their interest when you speak the message. Choose your words carefully and be ready to give answers to anyone who asks questions.

Thoughts: In Paul’s departing remarks to the church at Colossae, he shared a few things that God laid on his heart that would help the people grow in Christ and improve the effectiveness of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that these points are very important to us today as we continue the ministry in this evil world in which we live. Here are some points that really got my attention in the highlighted verses:

  • Prayer – Paul even had some sub points to this particular need:
    • Never give up – just because we may have prayed for something last week doesn’t mean that we don’t pray for that need again this week. Be consistent, and persistent, in prayer;
    • Stay alert – when we hear of a Brother hurting or in need, pray. He may not have asked for prayer, but we can discern that he needs our prayers. We may hear of disasters, such as currently happening in churches in Africa at this time. It’s a news item, but we know that these are our Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, so let us lift them up to the Father in prayer. Let’s be alert to the needs of one another;
    • Be thankful – Let’s learn to always thank God for His provisions, or perhaps His healing, or His guiding and protecting hand upon us, before we ever start our ‘grocery’ list of needs. Let’s be a thankful and appreciative people before God;
    • The ministry – whether it’s our own teaching or preaching, or that of our church leaders, let us pray that the words of God spoken through mere man will impact the lives of listeners. Let’s pray that people will not be distracted by the weaknesses of man, but instead by the power of the Holy Spirit, working through God’s messengers.
  • Witness – This one really stung, because way too often we will sit with an unbeliever and talk about everything under the sun, without ever rejoicing over the Son that lives within us and has played such a key role in us. In our midweek teaching at church last night we were reminded of the words of a great preacher who said, “In a day when everyone is ‘coming out of the closet’ what is stopping Christians from doing the same”! Of course, this is referring to the ‘closet’ of witnessing, for Christians are so afraid of saying anything that might ‘hurt the feelings’ of an unbeliever. However, should we not instead be enthused to share a life-changing, rescue-from-Hell, tip with someone we care enough about to sit and chat for a period of time? If they were about to walk across a very dangerous intersection, we would loudly shout out any life-saving tips to them. Why then do we hesitate to shout, or gently give them life saving tips that affects their eternal destiny? The tip from Paul in vs 5 is that we always make use of the time we have with our non-Christian friends, for they too need the Savior that we love and adore. They too deserve eternity in Heaven with the creator of this universe. What then are we waiting for?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, as You are well aware, the needs are great here on earth, especially the need for Your Son, and the need to surrender our pride to Him. We badly need Your power, Your boldness and Your direction to show enough love for our fellow man by sharing Your message of salvation with them. There are folk that we know, love and care about, that are dying and going to Hell because we have been afraid to put self aside, and share the Love of Jesus Christ with them. I sincerely apologize for my shortcoming in this area Lord. Please forgive me. You died to save ALL who believe on You, please help me to not withhold sharing this good news with everyone that I know and associate with. Please don’t let me stand in the way of extending this privilege to family and friends of mine. Please impact my readers and I with Your Word in such a way today Lord, that we may be more constant in prayer and a bold witness of You to all that we come into contact with. May it be our mission to spread the joy of our salvation with all whom we come into contact with. We need You Lord, and we want You to be a part of our everyday life. I humble place these requests at Your feet with expectations of You working Your perfect will in and through us. For I ask this in the wonderful name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, with thanksgiving, AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!