It was night when Jesus and his disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. The disciples fell asleep. Jesus asked them, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray (Matthew 36:40).”
It was a bright sunny day when we visited the Garden of Gethsemane. I imagined Jesus asking me, “Could you watch with me one hour? Keep watch and pray.” “Watch and pray . . . the spirit is willing, but the body is weak (Matthew 26:41).”
My friend had a need I could not meet. I told another friend and he provided for her need.
Jesus told us that prayer is like that. “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit and I have nothing for him to eat . . . if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence (Luke 11:5-8).'”
Sometimes the Lord’s answers seem slow in coming. Sometimes it seems our heart’s longings will never be realized.
Pray anyway. Pray always. Pray. Pray. Pray.
“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” (Psalm 126:5).
“Jesus told his disciples . . . that they should always pray and never give up.
God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night.”
(Luke 18:1-7 NLT).
I pray specific Scripture for missionaries we know. Recently one told me “I want to do what I do because of love.”
For five years I have been praying this: “Let their service be motivated by love. Help them to obey your command to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all you mind and love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).
God answers prayer.
Jesus waited to respond when he heard his friend was sick (read John 11).
Sometimes Jesus waits to respond to our prayers. That’s why we’re told, “Keep on asking” (Matthew 7:7).
In the end, God’s glory will be revealed and people will see that Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
Once again they petitioned the King, this time pleading for mercy. The Prince said, “I have power and commandment to from my Father to forgive you, and do forgive accordingly.”
“He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and the garment of praise, that they may be called oaks of righteousness” (from Isaiah 61:3).
*adapted from John Bunyan, The Holy War, p.173.