Have you completed your Soul Care Plan for 2018? Soul Care Plan Link Today’s topic is building block “Q”, for Quiet Time.
As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.
My thoughts (Steve Adams):
If you’re like me, you’ve had times in your life when you were too complacent to pray. You know the times — when life is going well, and it almost seems like the good times will never end. And so prayer sinks so low on the priority list that, if it gets done at all, it’s minimal. But then, a crisis, deep disappointment, or loss strikes like an unexpected lightning bolt. And suddenly we see prayer for what it is — an incredibly valuable opportunity to meet with God and exercise our faith.
In these verses, Jesus exhorted the disciples to pray so they wouldn’t collapse under the weight of the landslide of events that were about to happen. And yet the disciples’ prayers were prematurely ended because of the deep sorrow and grief that was already overwhelming them, causing them to sleep instead of pray.
I think there’s a very practical lesson here for Christians today. Simply put, it’s that stress causes drowsiness! I can totally identify with this behavior because my main coping response to stress is to sleep — often at unwanted times and in excessive amounts. And, I wonder how many Christians have the same problem! Quality prayer time can be intense but also supremely peaceful.
So, if this happens to you, what can help? I think praying in a group is a key. In this passage, Jesus was there to wake them up and get them back on track! When we pray in a group, we can keep each other alert and motivated. The prayers of others will inspire us, and they may address issues we were unaware of. It’s kind of like a bunch of matches that, together, start a big, intense fire when a group of Christians get together and pray.
Praying in a group (or with one or two other people) isn’t the model of “quiet time” that’s usually presented. But if the isolation of the traditional devotional time leads to complacency or, like the disciples, sleepiness, it can be really useful to have a trusted friend or prayer partner to keep us going.
Thought for the day: Is your “solo” prayer time sleep-inducing? Make opportunities to pray with a friend or group.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.