Recently, I was reading in Matthew 26:36-46 in which Jesus told His disciples to “watch and pray” in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Many of us know about the importance of prayer, but what about watching?
This concept is relevant, especially for those of us who struggle with eating issues, such as food addiction, binge eating, and emotional eating.
I will explain why in a moment.
But first, let’s take a closer look at Jesus’ instructions to “watch and pray.”
The Value of “Watch and Pray”
Here is the situation in which Jesus used the phrase “watch and pray”:
“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.
So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”– Matthew 26:36-46 (NKJV)
What was so important about watching in the Garden of Gethsemane?
Earlier in the evening, Jesus told His disciples that He would be betrayed and stricken. Furthermore, He said that the disciples’ reaction to that horrible event would be to forsake Jesus and leave Him in enemy hands (see Matthew 26:31-35).
However Peter was so self-confident that he swore to Jesus that he would never stumble, even if all the other disciples did.
Peter even said that he was willing to die for Jesus. And all the other disciples agreed, pledging that they would die for Jesus too.
But Jesus knew the truth about these men – that their courage would flee under pressure.
Jesus knew things about them that they didn’t even know about themselves!
After all, bravery is easy in peace-time; it is often a different story when facing a mob armed with clubs and swords!
These ruffians were prepared to beat, maim, or kill anyone who opposed them, determined to haul Jesus before the high priest for trial.
Jesus knew that His disciples needed strength and courage to stand up to the pressure!
But in spite of Jesus’ command, the disciples did not watch nor pray. Physical tiredness overwhelmed their best intentions.
If the disciples had watched and prayed, they would not have entered into the temptation to fear.
The Necessity of “Watch and Pray”
Consider this question:
Before you answer that, let’s look at the definition of “watch.”
To watch means being alert, observant, and vigilant. In other words, watching requires a person to be sober.
Brain hijacking, which is a companion of food drunk, is a roadblock to finishing our race well.
To drive this point home, here are a couple of scriptures that came to mind when I studied this topic:
For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.– Proverbs 23:21
In addition, the lack of sobriety leaves you open to enemy attacks:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”– 1 Peter 5:8
I pray that this message helps you conclude that “watch and pray” is not optional, but essential when it comes to combatting worldly temptations!
Be Blessed with Success,
Author of the Take Back Your Temple program
P.S. Do you struggle with eating too much sugar? If so, you are not alone!
Overcoming sugar addiction was a key factor on my journey to losing 85 pounds and dropping from a size 22 to a size 8.
In our 14-day Sugar Detox Challenge online course (inside the the Take Back Your Temple program), you’ll get the same success strategies and support to gain peace in your eating habits and achieve lasting weight loss success.
“Prayer for Weight Loss”