We read in Luke 22: 39-46 how Jesus, followed by the disciples, leave the Upper Room and head to the Mount of Olives. When they arrive at the specific location Jesus wanted, he sets the eleven aside and tells them to, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
After giving the disciples this word, Jesus moves further and kneels down to pray. A major cosmic conflict begins with Jesus struggling against the devil who wants Jesus to die. Jesus faithfully asks God the Father to remove the cup if He is willing, but if not, it if God’s will that is important and must be fulfilled, no matter how challenging it is or the demand upon Jesus.
The devil wants Jesus to reject God’s will and try to save himself from the pain of suffering for mankind. Jesus has left the disciples to pray and instead they have fallen asleep. The perimeter is not secure and the devil comes full force against Jesus and his sweat during the prayer with God and this cosmic struggle between the will of God and the will of self promoted by the devil, causes Jesus to break out in a massive sweat.
The disciples did not spend their time in prayer though. They fell asleep and as we read in Matthew, the spirit was willing, but the body is weak (Matt 26: 41). We see in the Matthew account how important the prayers of the disciples were to strengthen and lift Jesus and instead of backing up the Lord, they slept and left him open to attack.
While this is a single example of the disciples failure to stay awake on guard during a spiritual battle, I want to argue the church is equally asleep today, writ large. Too often believers check in for the Sunday service, attend a small group once per week, and may even stay involved with different ministries in their community, but where is the emphasis on prayer?. These are all good things. But where is the prayer for the fellow believers? is it included within the daily walk of a believer? We are called to follow and that involves prayer.
- How well are members in small groups praying for each other on a daily basis?
- How well are church members praying for the pastor, other church staff, and their own families?
- Do the members know the other people in their small group and actively pray for them daily?
- How would people even know if their fellow believers were awake on guard to equip, arm, and defend their fellow believers through prayer?
There are churches doing all of these and those churches are changing the world, because their people are uplifted, equipped, and armed to stay within the will of God, while being protected from the machinations of the devil and his minions. However, many Christians are asleep on the perimeter while their brothers and sisters are being sifted every day and struggling in need their prayer.
Prayer Catalysts are people that commit to daily prayer for the people in their sphere, local and foreign missionaries, and the lost wherever they may be. All believers are called to be Prayer Catalysts (2 Cor 1:11; Col 4:2; Eph 6:18; Lk 18:1).
Have you answered this call or are you asleep on the perimeter and providing openings for the devil to attack fellow believers?