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Watch and Pray - Issue 162
August 06, 2010
Hi there! ....

This week we are back into our regular study routine. It felt good to be reading and learning together again. It doesn’t matter how well prepared I am for a week there will always be stuff that happens. A phone call that needs my attention, a business activity that I need to deal with or a child who has an ‘unscheduled difficulty’!! (These can be spiritual, moral, academic, relational or practical things the kids need help with) There are two ways I cope with unscheduled difficulties:

  1. Don’t cram my days with lesson after lesson or activity after activity – have some space in my routine so there is time for these to be dealt with.
  2. Be aware of independent activities that the other children can go on with, should I get held up with one of the other children.
We cannot be grumpy about these times – these are precious times of discipleship we need to spend with our child. Sometimes these unscheduled moments are when we touch our children’s hearts the best – so don’t ignore them, don’t brush them aside – be prepared for them!

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Watch and Pray

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.
The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.
Matthew 26:41

Jesus asked his disciples to pray with him, to watch and pray. We too need to watch and pray. The word ‘watch’ means to keep awake, with the idea of being vigilant. We use the word ‘watch’ when we are on the look out for approaching dangers – all our senses are on alert.

What was Jesus asking of them – what is he asking of us?

I believe there was a physical and spiritual side to this. He says when the disciples fall asleep - “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”. We need to keep our bodies up to the task. I find this a challenge. How do I, as a busy mum, keep my body ready for whatever it is Jesus is concerned about?

There was no doubt that Jesus was concerned about something – v38 Jesus told these disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” I think they missed it. They missed the whole idea that Jesus’ heart was overwhelmed, exceedingly sorrowful. Do we miss the things that Jesus is concerned about?

We were talking about this in our weekly Bible Study and someone pointed out that the disciples had a pretty tough week; a week of extreme highs and lows. They had just come from the time we call the Lords Supper where Jesus overturned a long held important tradition. He then said some confusing things about betrayal and dying. I think their heads were in a spin and yet, Jesus still expected them to watch and pray. Regardless of what our circumstances are Jesus expects us to watch and pray with him too. He wants us to understand his heart – to notice the things that grieve his heart, to pray with him over those things.

I always thought that Jesus came back three times and each time chided the disciples for falling asleep but as I read this passage this week I see that isn’t the case. He returns the first time (v.39,40) and wakes them up and rebukes them. In v.43, 44 he comes back, finds them asleep and leaves them again (he left them there – asleep!). Then in v.45,46 he comes back a third time and they are still asleep – he woke them again to tell them “Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Arise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that betrayeth me.” I noticed two things here

  1. They slept through the crisis – I wonder if Jesus is being sarcastic here – sleep on now – the hour is at hand!!
  2. Jesus only told them off once!! I think this is a picture of his mercy.

So even though Jesus expected them to rise above their circumstances and to watch and pray with him, he understood their failures. He was merciful – as he will be, and is merciful to us in our failures and weaknesses.

So what are the things we need to watch and pray about? What are the things on Jesus heart? I believe we are to watch for

  • ourselves
  • our family
  • the body of Christ
  • those around us
  • the nation

Be self-controlled and alert.
Your enemy the devil prowls around
like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8 NIV

Jesus wanted the disciples to pray so that they would not fall into temptation. Jesus knew what was ahead, not only for himself, but for those disciples whom he loved. They were up for some pretty rough times ahead. He knew they would deny him and run away. He knew the turmoil of their souls. He knew the heart ache that was ahead of them. Watch and pray was his command.

It is all too easy to watch ourselves to make sure that we don’t sin. And yet Jesus’ was saying to pray – to look upwards. The danger is that we spend too much time watching the sin instead of watching Christ. We need to remember that Christ has already won the battle.

… in all these things we are more than conquerors
through him who loved us.
Romans 8:37

So we are not to watch and pray out of fear but rather out of a confidence in who Jesus is. After the time Jesus spent in prayer there is one little phrase that he said to the disciples that is powerful: (v46) Arise, let us be going. Jesus was in charge and he still is – after we’ve spent time in prayer we too can arise and get going!


Blog Updates this week
Over the last few weeks I’ve written a series on Planning.
Part I: Getting my Head around Planning
Part II: Writing a Study Schedule
Part III: Prep Time

Other blog posts:
Training boys to be kind to Girls
Family Rules for Fighting
My Internet Reading Lately



Bookshop
Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.




Heart Focus Parenting - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.





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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!


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