The best word I can think of to describe Jesus last night is “heavy”. It doesn’t seem to be completely sad. Jesus seemed to take joy in washing their feet. He enjoyed serving them the Passover meal and spending time with them. But, He also knew what was ahead of Him. His purpose was to meet man’s evil and God’s wrath head-on.
So, there were definitely heavy and grief-filled tones that filled Jesus’ words in Luke…
Luke 22:31-32 (NLT) “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
Their band of brothers was about to fly off the rails. Everything they were so convinced of during the last 3 years was about to come to a screeching halt. Their faith would not just be tested, it would be killed. Their belief system would need its own resurrection. It would take a miracle for the work that Christ began to continue.
Their greatest challenge would arrive later that evening. And, of course, Jesus gave them the answer to the final exam they were about to fail.
Luke 22:40, 46 (NLT) There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.”… 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.”
One has to wonder if Peter’s denial could have been avoided if he had waited in prayer with Jesus as he was asked. But, he couldn’t. He was too tired. His heart was in it, but his body was not.
But, the truth remains, prayer will save your faith. It will teach you how to have faith, too.
I have known many who have prayed to resurrect their faith, but lost their way. It has taught me a few very valuable lessons. All of which, I know personally.
One, sometimes when we pray, we are not trusting God, we are testing Him. It is not a good idea to give the one who holds your heartbeat in His hands a pass/fail test. We should not be too harsh upon ourselves or others, for any prayer is at least an attempt. But, We don’t give God tests. He doesn’t take them. Pray to trust God and notice things in your life that encourage your faith.
Two, sometimes when we pray, we are only willing to receive from Him what we desire rather than what we need. It should be obvious that we are clueless about what our life needs. God, who loves us completely and knows everything is better equipped with answers. He often sends us what we need rather than what we think we need.
Three, sometimes when we pray, we only want God’s gifts and we reject His presence and will. If prayer isn’t about God’s presence, what is it about? God is not some kind of “Santa Claus”. God is Father. God is Holy. God is in control. And, He wants us to know Him. He desires that we come into his presence. He desires that our prayers be more than mere “letters to Santa”. His heart is to commune with us.
Only by coming into God’s presence are we able to know God in a relationship. And, only in that place will we discover our intended Glory.
Let’s pray today. Let’s avoid temptation and doubt. We can escape fear, isolation, and our wounds. Prayer is the way home.