There are all kinds of studies that tell us that sleep is good for us. But, as I was reading Luke 22 the other day, I recognized the one time when Jesus said that sleep was bad for us.
Listen to these ancient words that still have relevance for today. As I read them and savored them, they reverberated through the corridors of my soul.
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
The Disciples Sleep
Just hours before he would carry the sins of the human community on his shoulders and in his body, Jesus speaks these words to his friends – the men who are responsible for his worldwide mission. He invites them to enter into and share his agony through intercessory prayer. But, they are exhausted with grief and a self-absorbed pursuit of moving up the leadership ladder. How can they sleep while their Master suffers? Before I come down too hard on them, well over 2000 years later, He speaks these same words to me.
Yet, I Sleep
I am in the garden, sleeping while he is praying. My Savior invites me to pray with him. But, I am exhausted with grief, pride, self-reliance, and self-absorbed pursuits. My Savior invites me into his pain. He asks me to agonize with him over the murders, abortions, rapes, racial and gender inequalities, human traffickings, genocides, injustices, abusive relationships, body shaming, and all other crosses to bear. Yet, I sleep. He comes to me. I am sleeping in the comfort of my selfishness. I’m found out, embarrassed, and I offer no excuses or rationalizations. Man, I was asleep. It was good sleep, too. I wipe the sleep from my eyes and the drool from my mouth, only to recognize that he has been praying. He has been agonizing over the pain, the brokenness, and the sins, of the world. Jesus kneels alone on his praying ground, deeply troubled. Yet, I sleep.
Because I have been sleeping, I have not been praying. And, because I have not been praying, I have not depended on my heavenly Father. My self-reliance means I am more apt to fail and fall into all kinds of temptations – irrational fears, unnecessary anxieties, satanic lies, and delusional beliefs. Lord, I am sorry. Please forgive me. Therefore, it’s time for me to:
Wipe the sleep from my eyes.
Talk to the Father!
Be devoted to prayer!
The Invitation Still Stands
Today, Jesus passionately invites us into the exhausting, powerful, joyous, and intimate spiritual habit of prayer. Prayer should be the believer’s normal response to the internal and external pressures of life. So, I hope you will join me in making prayer a priority, where we daily, intentionally, joyfully, and imperfectly meet with the living God of the universe on behalf of another human being.
Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2
Do not be anxious about anything, but pray about everything… Philippians 4:6
Next time Jesus comes to us, may he find us praying instead of sleeping. Therefore, let’s awake, arise and join him in praying for the brokenness in our world in those we love.
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