“Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here, while I go over there and pray.’ And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.’ And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’ And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.’ And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, ‘Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.'” Matthew 26:36-44
Watch with Me. Watch that you may not be tempted. Watch so you will not fall. Peter had just vehemently, adamantly pledged his loyalty to Jesus, but could not keep hold and watch for fatigue. In contrast, Jesus’s soul was sorrowful unto death, yet every sinew was engaged in worship, wrestling with His Father, waiting until His will be fully surrendered.
Bold assertions not fortified by prayer and dependence will fall flat under fire, proving the weakness of flesh. Failing to watch and pray yields failure in other areas of life: impetuous actions and reactions, disloyalty, betrayal, and temper. But consistent, persistent watching works within the will until perspective and resolve are aligned. (Matthew 26:31-35,51-54,69-75)
Often the watching- the give and take and push and pull of prayer- is what kneads the heart to spiritual health. We pour out desire, express doubt and fear, cry out for help and understanding, and the Almighty responds with grace, discernment, fresh perspective, transformation and fortification of the will, and peace. The tension of our ineptness with His absolute ability and perfection works to bring us to glad trust that He knows best and is always good. When the hour is at hand, we are prepared to rise and go. (Matthew 26:45-46; Romans 12:2)
Many personal situations and cultural or worldwide circumstances rouse wrestling within the will: How can this happen? What should I do, and where begin? Is this really what You require of me? How can this brokenness possibly be repaired or redeemed? Can I trust Your word? Watching with the Lord will guard against temptation and falling, and reorient our resolve. Always on our side, He intercedes with and for us! Are we taking time deliberately to watch?(Romans 8:31,34)
Lord, keep me watching You, and with You, that my will becomes Yours, and Yours be done. (Matthew 6:9-10)