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Pastor’s Column 3/12/2023

Updated: Mar 11


“At last He stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. “Why are you sleeping?” He asked them. “Get up and pray so that, you will not give in to temptation.” Luke 22:45-46, NLT

3rd Sunday In Lent - “The Need To Pray!”

One of the great disciplines of the Christian faith we are obligated to do, is pray. We are never to take prayer to be a casual or convenient exercise; but one in which the complete self is engaged. Prayer is a necessity, and Jesus taught us to pray; modeled the discipline; and required us to exercise prayer, with absolute priority. This was never more apparent than when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, on the night He was handed over to the soldiers for trial. The instruction to pray with Him for at least one hour, was most likely for the benefit of the disciples. Jesus was in great agony, but He was aware of His mission. He would inevitably concede to the fact that He too, would drink from the “bitter cup” of death. Jesus gazed at His disciples, who were slouching and snoring on the ground. The stress and fear of those trying moments, had arrested them in an uneasy sleep. The posture for prayer during that time was “standing;” with hands open, and faces, slowly bobbing between ground and clouds; representative of earth and heaven. Prayer was intentional, and required the complete self. Upon noticing the state and posture of His disciples, Jesus chided them for “sleeping.” He commanded them to “Get up and pray.” This would remedy their lethargic state, and cause them to arrest the temptation that dogged them. Effectiveness in prayer comes from intentional effort. This removes distractions, that could cause us to abandon this indispensable spiritual discipline. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, essentially said, “If I am distracted by something other, quickly remind me of this [vain behavior].” (From the Confessions, Book 10, Chapter 35). We are blessed that the admonition of Jesus to the disciples in the garden that night, is meant for us as well. We must remain “awake in prayer” in a world, asleep!

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