ODJ: stay awake

December 19, 2014 

READ: Matthew 26:36-46 

Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak! (v.41).

A German bank employee was in the middle of transferring 62.40 euros from a customer’s bank account when he suddenly nodded off. His ‘power-nap’ took place while his finger was still on the “2” key, resulting in a 222 million euro (175 million pounds) transfer into the customer’s account. The sleepy state of the worker nearly became a nightmare for the bank, all because he wasn’t being alert.

Jesus warned His disciples that if they didn’t remain alert, they too would make a costly mistake. He took the men to a place called Gethsemane to spend some time in prayer (Luke 22:40). As He was praying, sorrow washed over Him—sadness to the point of distress. It was unlike anything He had ever known in His earthly life.

Jesus asked Peter, James and John to stay awake with him (Matthew 26:38). Yet, in His moment of greatest need, He found them snoozing (vv.40-41). Their failure to give the Master the support He needed would leave them defenceless when the real temptation was upon them. He charged them to remain alert and expectant so that they would not fall into temptation—the temptation of denying Him. The disciples needed spiritual vigilance, which, in this case, included physical self-control.

Today, the Saviour calls us to live out the same spiritual vigilance that He desired from the first disciples. Staying awake and avoiding the most costly mistake of denying Jesus means spending more time on our knees. We must devote our entire being “to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart” (Colossians 4:2), to pray in the power of “the Spirit at all times and on every occasion” (Ephesians 6:18) and to “be earnest and disciplined in [our] prayers” until He returns (1 Peter 4:7). —Marvin Williams

365-day plan› James 1:2-27

Read Revelation 3:2-3 and think about Jesus’ warning to stay awake and not neglect watchfulness. 
If Jesus graded your prayer life at this moment, would He commend you for your diligence or rebuke you for sleeping on the job? In what part of your prayer life do you need to become more disciplined?