[reprinted from April 13, 2010]
[Jesus said,]â€œSo be careful, or your hearts will be loaded down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day will come on you suddenly. For it will come like a snare on all those who dwell on the surface of all the earth. Therefore be watchful all the time, praying that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.â€
Luke 21:34-36Â (WEB, emphasis mine)
He came out, and went, as his custom was, to the Mount of Olives. His disciples also followed him. When he was at the place, he said to them, â€œPray that you donâ€™t enter into temptation.â€
He was withdrawn from them about a stoneâ€™s throw, and he knelt down and prayed, saying, â€œFather, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.â€
An angel from heaven appeared to him, strengthening him. Being in agony he prayed more earnestly. His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.
When he rose up from his prayer, he came to the disciples, and found them sleeping because of grief, and said to them, â€œWhy do you sleep? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.â€ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Luke 22:39-46 (WEB)
How important is prayer in my life?Â Am I as faithful to pray every day as I am to brush my teeth every day?Â Do I skip breakfast as often as I â€˜skipâ€™ my morning time with my Lord?
Jesus was not vague in these two passages in Lukeâ€™s gospel.Â Luke, physician and scientist, must have thought that these words were important to record!Â Jesus was talking to His disciples, the ones who believed in Him, when He warned them â€“ told them to â€œBe Careful!Â The world is infected with â€˜termite-likeâ€™ weaknesses that eat away at the very foundation of my faith in my Lord and Savior.Â It comes in with ambivalence and arrogance and self-righteousness.Â Â I skip a morning with God because Iâ€™m tired or I have an early business meeting and before I know it â€“ itâ€™s been weeks or or even since I spent quality, single-focused time with God.Â The events of the last years of my life have certainly been a clear testimony to me that I need to spend time with God every day or I will not survive!
Jesus shows me at the Mount of Olives that even He who has such a strong, intimate relationship with the Father will still question the Fatherâ€™s plans.Â He finds the comfort and strength that He needs to complete His mission by laying it all out before the Father and receiving thefull answer of the Father that includes all that He needs to get up from His knees and move on.Â Again, Jesus tells His disciples to be â€œAlert and Prayâ€!Â It is only in this habitual prayer life that the disciples will be saved from temptation!!!
I want to â€œâ€¦stand before the Son of Manâ€ and give Him the glory and praise for all that He is currently doing and will continue to do without ceasing for those who seek His face every day! God is so good!
What a Friend We Have in Jesus, sung by Bart Millard