“‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,’ he said to them…Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Simon,’ he said to Peter, ‘are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray…’” Mark 14:37.
Whenever my children were young, when they heard me say Kristen Diane, Michael Walker or Caroline Marie they knew that I was displeased. Jesus Himself had changed Simon’s name to Peter which in the Greek translation means rock. So I find it interesting that when Peter defaults to his flesh and falls asleep, Jesus calls him Simon. It is most likely because Simon sometimes acted like his old self instead of the rock God called him to be. Can’t we all relate to this? I can just hear the inflection in His voice with disbelief that Peter could not hold his eyes open for even an hour. Jesus was not only their teacher but He was their precious friend. He was struggling …He was hurting. He shared His deepest feelings with a select few and specifically asked them to join Him in prayer. After pouring His heart out to His Father he returned to find His chosen friends asleep. Jesus asked His friends to pray three different times that day to no avail, but did not judge them. He was very aware of human weaknesses since He temporarily gave up His God status and became that of flesh.
We have all been the one who uttered these words of despair, and we have all been the one who promised to pray and failed to…oops, we forgot…we dozed off. Now I dare not judge because my grandmother could pray like nobody’s business. I remember as a child when we would ask her to bless the food, every member of the family got blessed and a few people we never heard of. It would not have been out of the realm of possibility that one of us fall asleep during one of her marathon prayers. The point is that prayer is a gift we give each other. We need it so we ask…we are asked so we give. The power of prayer is something that nothing else can replace. Even if we know God’s will and it is disparaging, we pray. Even if our circumstances look impossible, we pray. Even if we have prayed the same prayer for a span of time…like Jesus…we repeat our prayers with confidence that they are being heard. ‘Once more he went away and prayed the same thing’ Mark 14:39.
Prayer requires more than a repeated chain of thoughts and requests. It requires sitting with God and really discussing some things…having an actual dialogue. Speaking…pausing…listening… crying…laughing. It involves taking His words and reading or speaking them back to Him so we show Him that we believe in those words. It means that if no one else ever prayed for us God would have heard every desire in our heart from our very own lips…nothing left on the table. He will respond to what we honestly and humbly bring before Him. What we do not bring to Him cannot be taken by Him. What we hold onto in the secret places of our hearts will come to light eventually, so why not bring it to Him immediately and continually? He is our Father who desires to heal us in our inner places.
Take everything to Him in prayer no matter how many times it has already been spoken. As we are Christian prayer partners may we keep watch over our brothers and sisters and cover them in prayer…even if we do fall asleep occasionally.