"Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Couldn't you men keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter."
And again in the book of Mark:
"Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
He spoke these words as he was in the utmost of agony, just before he knew he was to be betrayed. In that crucial hour, his friends let him down.
I can't judge them. They didn't fully understand what was about to happen, and they were, after all, mortal men.
Yet this question Jesus asked, 'Couldn't you keep watch for even one hour'... I haven't been able to get it out of my mind.
As we press into our third month in the JV Prayer Room, seeking to fill 24 hours a day with prayer for young people across Central and Eastern Europe and our team who is working with them, I'm aware more than ever of the hard work of prayer.
It is not easy. It is costly. It is work. It takes time. And there is nothing glamorous about it as you do the hard work of battling spiritual forces, with the Lord, for the sake of others and for yourself.
BUT, there is such a flip side to prayer! It is so much more than just coming with requests and doing battle. It is about being in the presence of God, connecting with him, aligning my thoughts with his, finding out what his heart beats for, being refreshed by being with him, and letting the rest of the world fade away as I sit with him to talk and pray so I'll know his will.
Time in prayer, spent with him, is the "better thing"...the best thing!
Yet there are spiritual forces against us when we come into God's presence. So while sometimes prayer for me is a truly wonderful experience, what it mostly comes down to is a choice...a choice to quiet myself and be with him. It's there that I find rest for my soul and strength to do what he asks of me.
May you do the hard of work of prayer too...and find the blessing in it.