PRAYERLESSNESS comes BEFORE a FALL: When He (Jesus) rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. Then He said to them, "Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation" (Luke 22:45-46)
After Jesus spent some agonizing time at the Garden of Gethsemane in prayer, He returned to His disciples only to find them sleeping from sorrowful exhaustion. The disciples were exhausted from the emotional demands made on them through the prophecy of Jesus’ death and the difficult future awaiting them. We see that once again Jesus urged them to rise and pray, because the crisis hour was drawing near, and they would be tempted to deny Him before the authorities!
When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, we see a real difference between the response of Jesus (who prayed) and that of His disciples (who did not pray). Because Jesus had prayed and was yielded to the Father’s will, He was prepared for His arrest, but the disciples were not. In fact, all the disciples forsook Jesus and fled away to safety (Matt. 26:56). Peter, who had earlier asserted that he was ready to accompany Jesus both to prison and death (Luke 22:33) not only distanced himself from Jesus after His arrest (v. 54b), but denied even knowing Jesus three times just as Jesus had foretold (v. 34, 57, 58, 60). What a sad aftermath to prayerlessness in the lives of Peter and the other disciples of Jesus!
Let us be aware that temptation is an enticement to do wrong. It is attractive and may entice us with carnal pleasures or, give us a chance to escape risk or, get us illegitimate gain. However, God’s Word is clear that we sin when we give in to tempting opportunities. The Bible warns us that repeatedly giving way to temptation can result in falling away permanently with a total loss of interest in returning to God (see Heb. 6:6–8).
Clearly we need God’s strength and wisdom to flee from temptation (1 Cor. 6:18; 1 Tim. 6:11), and this can only be achieved through spending time close to God in prayer and receiving new strength from God alone. It is therefore crucial to take time to declare to God our weakness, weariness, and need for His help in the midst of testing. Even our Lord Jesus had taught His disciples to pray in that manner: "And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." (Matt 6:13)
Let us understand that prayerlessness is disobedience against God since we are commanded to pray (see Luke 18:1; Matthew 6:6). When we do not pray, it reveals our unwillingness to let God work in our life. When we do not pray, we are neglecting the divine privilege that Jesus has purchased for us by giving a great price, even His own life (Hebrews 10:19-20). Not spending time with God in prayer reveals our thinking that we can handle things on our own (John 15:5), and in fact reveals our unbelief (Romans 10:14; Hebrews 11:6). When we do not pray, we are making ourselves wide open to temptation and failure. Thus, prayerlessness comes before a fall and is the cause of a deficient spiritual life!
Today, let’s commit ourselves to spending daily time with God in prayer. We need to recognize our need for the Holy Spirit to infuse us with a new passion and a new commitment to spend some time everyday talking to God in prayer. In fact, God wants us to pray continually to Him as the scriptures declare: "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17). Remember, God is patiently waiting for us to go to Him now!