“When He rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, He found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. ‘Why are you sleeping?’ He asked them. ‘Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.’” Luke 22:45-46
I often say to God, “This week will be different; I’ll spend more time reading the Bible, more time in prayer, more time in thankful meditation. I promise.”
But despite my intentions, after a few days I revert back to my old ways. I let things like sleep, television, and the Internet creep into the time I had intentionally put aside for God. This pattern repeats itself endlessly; I’ve struggled with praying and reading the Bible ever since I first decided to follow Jesus. Even though I know better, even though I know that doing these things are necessary for my spiritual growth, I neglect them. I fail. Constantly.
So when I read about Jesus’ disciples who fell asleep when they were supposed to be praying, I find a small bit of comfort. At least I’m not alone in my failings. When Jesus finds the disciples in their unconscious state, I can just imagine the disappointment in His voice. Here He was in anguish, moments before His arrest, “His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:44). And His disciples were sleeping. They failed to follow Jesus’ words. They failed to pray.
But the story doesn’t end there. Though Jesus may have wanted more from His disciples in this moment, He still chose to use them to spread His message of hope to the world. And though we may disappoint Jesus time and time again, He has limitless compassion and grace for us. And He still chooses to use us as His representatives on earth. What an amazing God we serve.
Dear Jesus, forgive me when I neglect to spend time with You. I pray that You would give me the discipline and the desire to grow in my relationship with You. Thank You that despite the times when I fail, You still choose me to be an agent of Your kingdom, a messenger of light to this world. Amen.
If you struggle with creating space for God, try to find a time of day that will actually work for you. (If you aren’t a morning person, then don’t expect to do much praying in the morning!) Start small; don’t aim for hours of meditation just yet. Start with 10-15 minutes. Even doing this will make a huge impact in your walk with Jesus. For more on this, read “Customize Your Quiet Time.”