Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Watch with Me

As we've gone through the summer conference season, there have been several of our speakers who have taught on prayer. One of the ones that stands out most in my mine is a brief message by Dr. George Murray. He directed our thoughts to Jesus' time of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest, trial and crucifixion.

And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Matthew 26:40 (NASB)

Dr. Murray focused on the last six words of Jesus' question to His disciples and made 3 observations on prayer. First, we must pray. It's not an option. God wants and expects us to pray. The Scriptures are full of commands to pray.

pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, (Matt. 5:44)
Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation (Matt. 26:41)
bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. (Luke 6:28)
therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest
(Luke 10:2)

The second point, and the one that really hit me the most, comes from the next two words: with Me. Jesus prays with us. He invites us to pray with Him as He brings our needs before His Father.

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25).

He makes intercession for us, as He prayed for His disciples (and us) while He was here on earth.

I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours (John 17:9 - read the whole chapter!).

Third, prayer takes time ... keep watch with me for one hour. Now, if you're like me, praying for an hour sounds intimidating. I run through my list and am done in five minutes and then wonder what to do with the other 55. I'm not saying an hour is some magical time frame, but prayer does take time. We wouldn't rush through a conversation with our best friend, yet we rush through prayer as though it is something to "get done" and check off our list. Probably a better concept, rather than a time, is what Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NKJV) "pray without ceasing." We should always be in a mindset of prayer. Every thought, need, concern, praise, etc., should be taken to God in prayer. Anytime, anywhere, we can, and should pray.

Dr. Murray shared a great concept that comes from Ecclesiastes 8:2-3a, "I say, 'Keep the king's commandment for the sake of your oath to God. Do not be hasty to go from his presence.'" Now, these verses do not directly relate to prayer, but think about this. If you were invited to visit Queen Elizabeth, would you be checking your watch and in a hurry to leave? Of course not! What a rare honor it would be to be invited into the presence of a queen. Yet we're invited into the presence of the King any time we want, and we rush in and out as fast as we can, as if there are more important things to do.

I think that illustration impacted me most. How quick I am to say what I need to say and rush off to the next thing. Let us not be hasty to go from HIS presence!

Pray because we must. Remember He prays with and for us. And spend some time in prayer.


Ruth Schmidt is on full-time staff at America's Keswick, and grateful to be a daughter of the King.

James 4:11-12
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

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