So Sleepy

Have you ever had the problem of falling asleep when you are praying?  I have literally drifted off to sleep while immersed in prayer. I felt guilty, but it seemed like the more I tried to stay awake, the more I drifted off once again.  But then I remember the story in Luke about Jesus going to the Mount of Olives to pray. He took His disciples with Him, but left them a short distance from where He would go, and told them this: “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Luke 22:40 Why would He want them to pray that they would not enter into temptation when He was literally praying for strength from the Father for the time that was upon Him?  He knew their physical weaknesses, and the very fact that tiredness itself can lead one into temptation. After all it’s a physical weakness. We all need so much sleep at night, some more than others, but sleep is necessary for the body to remain strong. Falling asleep while trying to pray may not be a temptation, but it reveals the weakness of the body, and it is in times of weakness that we falter into temptations. How many times have you not gotten the sleep that your body needs, only to wake feeling awful, or perhaps angry, and you don’t even know the reason why.  But back to the inability of the disciples to stay awake and pray. Jesus went off to pray by Himself, and this is recorded the way He prayed: “Then an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. Being in anguish, He prayed more fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground. When He got up from prayer and came to the disciples, He found them sleeping, exhausted from their grief. Why are you sleeping? He asked them, ‘Get up and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation.” 22:43-46 I wonder if it’s times like this, for Jesus, knowing He was heading to the cross, and for us, when we are faced with grief seemingly too great for us to handle, and we need communication with the Lord. We need to be comforted, yet, it is indeed times like this that we falter, not being able to pray, or keep our attention on the Lord.  Paul certainly understood this by the many times he found himself weak and alone.  But this he would write to the churches in Rome: “In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit’s mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8: 26-27  So don’t worry that you are too weak at times to pray, but instead trust that the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and me, will respond to our needs, even when we can’t speak. It’s all a part of staying awake in Christ, even when the body wants to physically sleep. Pastor Andy

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