Thoughts and prayers. Are you kind of tired of hearing the cycle? Something bad happens – somebody gets up says a few words and ends it all with our thoughts and prayers are with you but then couple days or a week goes by and the prayers stop. It’s easy to say thoughts and prayers when something bad happens…but consistent bringing requests and thanksgiving to God every day? That’s not so easy.
How about this. To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing. The less I pray the harder it gets. I am so busy now that if I did not spend 3 hours a day in prayer I could not get through the day. And the ever popular – Ah if only I could pray the way my dog looks at that meat. All quotes from Martin Luther on the importance of prayer. And as you hear those quotes you realize how difficult it is to do the three words from our lesson this evening. “Watch and pray”
The disciples were having a prayer crisis in Matthew 26. And it’s sort of interesting that they find themselves in this position. Before the prayer life of the disciples absolutely falls apart Peter says these words “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” The entire group of disciples hear what Jesus is facing so they pledge their utmost loyalty to him…we’ll go the whole 9 yards Jesus in it till the end brother right here with ya. I’ll catch a grenade for ya Jesus.
Right after that Jesus tells them that his soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. And Jesus who just gave them the supper and washed their feet had a simple request from them…watch and pray.
Jesus goes farther into the garden and he prays Father take this cup – take this death and crucifixion from me but if not I will still go through it your will be done.
He gets up and the men who said we’ll die with you Jesus – did they watch and pray? No they were totally asleep. See the Savior knew they were weak. The devil was going to scatter them and their defense was to watch and pray. But they fell asleep.
When I was a teenager my parents owned a restaurant two hours from our house. And as a 16 year old kid I worked two different jobs – one was at their restaurant Friday Saturday Sunday and the other was in a warehouse Monday – Thursday. I loved working. What was bad though was the drive in between. I’d wake up at 4 to get back for class on Monday mornings and it’s pretty scary to say this but looking back I don’t remember a good chunk of those drives. Because I was literally in a tired haze –sleeping at the wheel because I worked so much with school.
You ever feel like you are going through life in that haze? Had to feel like that for the disciples…Jesus washing our feet – Jesus doing Lord’s Supper. Now here they are and Jesus is saying watch and pray they can’t they are exhausted they fall asleep at the wheel.
You may not be facing your friends impending death maybe you are…but whatever your stress and sorrow is coming from right now my bet is that you often forget to talk to God about it.
Lots of times people come to my office and the conversation goes a little like this Pastor we don’t know what to do anymore…we went to counseling…we read 6 books…we exercise even followed some cool motivational gurus on Instagram and yet problem is still there. We’re exhausted by this stress. We have a tool God gave us and yet we’re asleep in the haze of life watch and pray and we don’t.
There’s a reason for that. You know why before a storm the weather man tells you to charge your phone? It’s so that if the power goes out you still have a way to contact people if something really goes wrong. The devil is that storm. He wants your prayer battery to be totally dead. Sin does not want you to have a direct line to God because when we are depressed when we are alone then we are vulnerable to doubt. We fail in prayer.
While you were sleeping though…Jesus went to work. Facing down death he picks up his communication device. His prayer is perfectly reverent and perfectly devoted to pay for your lack of focus. His perfect prayer washes away your imperfect prayer life. Jesus always watched and prayed…for you. And now his sacrifice creates this. There is one God and one mediator between God and man Christ Jesus. The whole life of Jesus is the perfect prayer that said I’ll watch them Ill pray for them so that I can say three bigger words…I LOVE THEM.
So now in grace and thanks you want to pray consistent like that dog watching the meat – So how are you going to watch and pray now?
You know coming to St. Peter’s I noticed something kinda cool this week. Yal got some new hymnals in the pews – beautiful red ones. Maybe you have explored these before but in case you haven’t. Jesus says watch and pray there’s a way for you to do that. P 133 – 134 all personal prayers written for anything you are going through. Jesus says watch and pray here’s a tool for you. Make use of it.
I understand there is a ladies prayer group that happens here at church – make use of it watch and pray.
Final illustration for you. Most of us have one of these things – cell phone and if you have one of these you know that a habit is that we read stories on them before we go to sleep. That’s cool but can I give you a tip. I just got a new phone let me tell you about a new feature it has. If you hold down the button on the side of it for like 3 seconds suddenly the screen goes black…cool huh it’s called the off switch. Pick up your better cell phone – these two hands. Jesus says watch and pray – he did it for you face your fears face your troubles face your enemy with that weapon. Hands folded head bowed doing battle in the garden kind of prayer. Watch and Pray. AMEN