Watch and pray, lest the Tempter overpower you

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He took His three best friends with Him. He was filled with horror and deep distress. He knew all of them were going to betray him, yet he still didn’t leave them. He could have left them before they did, but he chose to spend his last few hours pouring his life into them. One of his best friends had even vowed that no matter what the others would do, he would never desert him. How ironic is it that it’s this same fellow that was swearing and cursing at the mention of his name.

It’s not a pretty scene. One guy is running away naked from the mob as they tried to capture him. The whole place is a mess. All of the leaders of the town have come with their security forces. The way they are marching forward and the look on their faces says they mean business. They must have some information about a high-profile criminal hiding nearby.

“My soul is crushed by sorrow to the point of death; stay here and watch with me.”

Right after he uttered those words he went down a little further and fell to the ground, the weight of the situation bearing on his soul, mind & body. He didn’t want to be separated from his father, not even for a single moment. But he knew there was no other way.

“Father, Father, “he said, “Everything is possible for you. Take away this cup from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.”

He returned to his friends and what a sight it was!

Don’t they understand?! This is it! This is the moment! This is their last time together! What a journey it has been the past 3 years! But it all comes to an end now.

His words were to watch and pray.

They were definitely not keeping watch. They were fast asleep.

They were not praying. They didn’t heed His word.

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I have lost count of the times that I have found myself in those situations. I knew His word, yet I didn’t take it to heart. I should have been keeping watch and praying, yet I chose the comfort of sleep & complacency. And it’s during those times that the tempter got the best of me.

38 Watch with me and pray lest the Tempter overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak.” – Mark 14:38(TLB)

It’s no different today than it was 2000 years ago when Jesus was being crucified. If I am not keeping watch and praying, I will not be able to stand the temptation of this world to give in into sin, to deny Jesus for fear of rejection, to doubt God’s word and his plans, to believe the constant lies of the enemy about God, myself, to doubt God’s love for me and cave into the temptation to believe the enemy’s lies about my brothers and sisters in Christ!

Would peter have denied Jesus if he had been keeping watch and praying? I don’t know. I do know though that Jesus didn’t want to go through the pain and agony of being separated from His father & being crucified. But he still did it.

How?

He kept watch and prayed!

I know I needed the reminder. Maybe you did too. I knew Jesus never sinned, when he was still fully human. Now I understand why. It is because he kept watch and prayed. And the tempter could not overpower him!

I need to keep watch and pray! You need to keep watch and pray! We need to keep watch and pray, lest the tempter overpower us!

Father I ask for forgiveness for the times I didn’t heed your word. Lord, I ask for your mercy for the times I chose sleep, comfort & complacency instead of prayer. Lord, I am choosing to heed your word today. I ask that you would create a desire in me to seek your face in prayer daily. Lord you are so much better than what this world has to offer. Only you can completely satisfy my soul and my deepest desires. You have the Living water, Jesus. Give me the strength to pray, so I can have power over the temptations of this world and the enemy. In Jesus’ name! Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

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Power of Prayer(pt. 2)

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(courtesy of: burningheartsmin.org)

Jesus’ life on earth was so powerful and impactful, that it created one question from the disciples. He performed many miracles. He healed many who were sick. He delivered those who were demon possessed. He even summoned Lazarus from the grave after he had been in there for more than 3 days. Yet the disciples inquired only one thing from Jesus.

They didn’t ask him to teach them how to heal the sick. They never asked him to teach them how to raise the dead. They never asked him to teach them how to cast out demons (although in one failed attempt they approached him privately to understand why they weren’t successful, Matthew 17:19). They understood something. They knew that the source of Jesus’ power was Prayer! They had noticed how often, how fervently and how so naturally that He prayed. So what was their one question?

“Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” – Luke 11:1(NKJV)

In Matthew 6 Jesus teaches us how to pray!

  1. First rule of thumb: Don’t be a Hypocrite! The fastest way to an unanswered/unheard prayer is hypocrisy! Jesus hated hypocrisy! So does God the Father and God the Holy Spirit!

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. – Matthew 6:5(NKJV)

 “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” Matthew 6:7(NKJV)

In Luke 18:9-14 Jesus speaks a parable about a Pharisee and a tax collector. The Pharisee stood, presumably where other worshipers would be able to see him, and prayed by telling God his righteousness. Even more than that He was telling God He was better than that tax collector in the temple (He must have skipped Isaiah 64:6,all of our righteousness are like filthy rags, during his devotion 🙂 ). Yet, Jesus tells us that the sinner who wouldn’t even dare lift his head up and cried for mercy went home justified than that hypocrite!

  1. Shut your door/ Go into the secret place

“6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” – Matthew 6:6(NKJV)

 The second thing that Jesus said was to go to the secret place, where you shut everything in the world out and where your Father is already there waiting for you! He’s already there, so the moment you separate yourself from your daily routine, and chose to be alone with Him, He’s listening.

I think a lot of times we feel like we have to strive and try so hard to get God’s ears or attention. But I believe, He’s already looking for people who have set their eyes on Him! This should make our job so much easier.

2 Chronicles 16:9 says “

 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.

The secret place is so important for prayer! That’s why we see that when Jesus walked on the earth He would leave the disciples to pray alone and be with His father. He was already filled with the Holy Spirit and knew what God’s heart was for the day in his prayer time, so He had no problem with opening the eyes of the blind, casting out demons , healing the sick and proclaiming Good news as he went about His day.

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” – Psalms 91:1(NKJV)

  1. Pray to your Father!

A lot of people have this view of God is that He’s a cruel taskmaster with a stick in his hand ready to whack you the moment you make a mistake. No! No! No! He’s a loving Father who desires to commune with His children. When an omnipotent God who has all power and can do anything takes time to create you and me in His image that tells me that He cares about me. He didn’t just speak me into existence. He made me in his image and breathed his breath into me!

“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. 18 He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing.” – Deuteronomy 10:17-18(NKJV)

 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” – John 17:24 (NKJV)

 “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” – 1 john 3:1(NKJV)

“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” – Romans 8:15-16(NKJV)

The moment our thoughts about God become right, everything else falls in place. The way we see ourselves will no longer be dictated by our accomplishments, other people’s approval, our success in ministry, our popularity but rather it becomes who the Father says we are! We are Children of the most high.

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
A.W. Tozer

We don’t have a purpose crisis in the church right now. We have an identity crisis. When we realize who we are in Christ, we start to live our lives in reality of that fact. That changes our lives. That changes our prayers!

  1. Pray in Faith & Pray with Others

You may have heard of Charles Finney, the great American evangelist. He was the leader of the 2nd great awakening in the US and has been called “The Father of modern revivalism”. What many may not know is that he had a personal intercessor, Father Daniel Nash, who would go to a city or town sometimes 2 or 3 weeks in advance to pray and intercede. Daniel Nash would go to a place as led by the Holy Spirit, and would often spend days and more in a room praying and fasting and groaning in the spirit for the Holy Spirit to move in that town and for the salvation of souls!

Charles Finney’s great public evangelistic ministry was empowered by the private prayer and partnership of Finney & Nash. Daniel was a man of prayer and of faith! He often had a list of individuals he would pray for to receive salvation, and he saw a great breakthrough of salvation for those he prayed for.

The great evangelist, Charles Finney, left his itinerant ministry for the pastorate within three or four months after Daniel Nash went home to be with the Lord. This shows you how powerful prayer of faith & intercession is in seeing revival and a move of God!

“And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.” – Luke 18:7(NKJV)

19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them.” – Matthew 18:19-20(NKJV)

“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” – James 1:6-8(NKJV)

Holy Spirit, teach me how to pray according to your will today! Father let my heart’s cry be what you heart beats for! Father let salvation come forth in my family, friends, place of work, city, country and beyond. Lord my prayer is that your name would be famous on all the earth! That all your children would bow down and worship you as King and Lord today! Lord, let heaven come and invade the earth! Abba let your will be done in my life, and not my will! Holy Spirit fill me with your goodness and presence today!

In Jesus’ name, Amen!