(45) And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, (46) And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.Luke 22:45-46
In these last moments before Jesus was to be arrested and betrayed, He gave Himself to prayer. He then gets up and comes to His disciples, finding them asleep. Notice His question to them:
(46) And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
In this moment Jesus was telling them to prioritize prayer over sleep. He was telling them to prioritize prayer. Why? He gives the reason when he said, “lest ye enter into temptation”.
How wonderfully considerate is the Master. How big is his heart. So big that even during this night of bitter woe there is room in it for “others.” His heart goes out to them, for he fully realizes that the wrath of the Sanhedrin will not be appeased when he himself, the Leader, is caught. That wrath will be vented next upon those who have been following him.
In the previous verses He had told the disciples that they ought to sell their garments and buy a sword. Why? Because, as scripture foretold, He was about to be “named with the transgressors”. He was going to be tried and arrested as a criminal. He was about to be crucified between two thieves. In fact, even when He is arrested, He asks the scribes, pharisees and temple guard this question:
Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? (53) When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.Luke 22:52-53
If they could get to Jesus and kill Him, they would certainly not stop with Him. They would go after His disciples. These disciples would be tempted to disown, deny, and desert Jesus, and prayer was an important part of what it takes for them to defeat this temptation.
And they did give in to this temptation. There was a spiritual battle. Jesus mentioned it in verse 53, when He said that those coming against Him were part of “the power of darkness”.
The good news is there is redemption in the blood of Jesus. These disciples would all end up being persecuted, and all but John giving their lives for the name of Christ as martyrs.
If we are going to be what God wants us to be we must realize that we are in a Spiritual battle. In Ephesians 6:10-12, Paul says this:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (11) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.Ephesians 6:10-12
We must never forget that we are in a spiritual battle. Paul describes that here and tells the church at Ephesus to put on the armor of God to fight this Spiritual battle. At the end of describing this armor He says this in verse 18-20:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (19) And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, (20) For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.Ephesians 6:18-20
If we are going to win against temptation in the midst of a spiritual battle, we must prioritize prayer!
When you look at last week, did you prioritize prayer?
– Did you have a place to pray?
– Did you have Jesus’ posture of prayer?
– Did you have Jesus’ passion in your prayer life?
– Did you have the spiritual power that comes when you prioritize prayer?
– Did you fall into temptation in part because of prayerlessness?
We fight for the Lord on our knees when we prioritize prayer!