faith, Life

I Would Be Sleeping

Matthew 26:36–46 ESV

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.”


I’m not sure what I was thinking on my walk. Perhaps I was having yet another argument with God.

(No, I never win.)

The words, I would be sleeping, entered my thoughts. Matthew 26 immediately came to mind.

Jesus went to pray. He was in great distress. If I were to describe it today, I would equate it to someone feeling like the world is closing in on them.

Ever felt like that? I have. More times than I care to admit.

Jesus was under it, man. He was feeling the weight of what was about to happen. His death. Dead man walking, as some may say.

He knew it. He knew the path that was ahead of him. Instead of going off about it, being surly and telling everyone who would listen about how unfair the folks in power were….he prayed.

No blaming the government. No blaming someone else for his “challenges”. No asking for someone to fix it for him.

He went to pray.

With his closest friends entering the garden of Gethsemane with him, he asked only one thing of them. One simple, little thing.

Watch with me. 


I would be sleeping. 

We Christians like to think highly of ourselves sometimes. That little thing called pride has a way of showing up in our lives at the most inopportune moments.

Okay. Maybe not you, but I definitely deal with pride.

So maybe I’m just talking to me. 🙂

When things are going well — the marriage is great, kids are great, work is great — we can think we’ve got this Christian thing down pat.

Bless the Lord and praise Him for all MY blessings. Can I get an amen?

We are “strong” in our faith because things are going well. We don’t need to pray, per se, as Jesus prayed. Pray? About what? Things are going well. The future is bright. His kingdom is coming.

Praise God. 




So, could you not watch with me one hour? 

One hour.

Let’s be real here. An hour of prayer seems like forever sometimes. Our minds can wander to a myriad of other things we have to do, can’t it?

The kids’ practices. The kids’ homework. The church event coming up next week. Can’t forget the small group THIS week. Did I read the passage for tonight’s bible study? What am I making for dinner? I wonder why (neighbor’s name) hasn’t been around the last few weeks? Oh, I need to go to the store! I need to call the plumber. I wonder if (co-worker name) followed up with that customer. Did I schedule the kids’ eye exams? Our homeowners insurance is going up. Taxes too? Yikes. Time to vote already? Oh those poor people in (country name) – how will they ever rebuild? I am so tired. Why did I get up early again?  

The disciples weren’t the ones facing death. The disciples weren’t the ones being sacrificed for the world. The disciples weren’t the ones dripping blood while praying.

The disciples weren’t the one.

They were sleeping. They believed in the new kingdom coming through Jesus. He was the King they had longed for. Jesus was their hope, the promise fulfilled. The Messiah. 

Everything was good. Change was coming.

They were tired. They slept.

Not just once, but three times Jesus would return to find them asleep.

In Mark 14 before the garden moment, Jesus warned them about their falling away – warning sign, hello – and also that he was suffering – warning sign again, hello.

Still, they fell asleep. They couldn’t wait awake. They waited alright…while sleeping.


There are things I have prayed about and believed God would do for over 20 years. 

While I wait, life goes on.

At times, something happens to make me think that the things I’ve been waiting for will come to pass. The prayers I’ve prayed so long will come to be. 

In those moments, I am full of the joy and zeal that the disciples must have felt spending time with Jesus. They were in the presence of their answer to prayer. How much passion and relief they must have had? 

It was coming to pass.

Walking into the garden and waiting for Jesus. Not very triumphant or glorious to hang out in a garden and…wait. At night. 

I wait. And wait. And wait on God to do something. Show me something, Jesus. 

Waiting is boring. Boredom brings weariness. Weariness brings sleep. They slept. 

I would be sleeping. I am sleeping. I slept. 


Last night, I wrote most of this blog post. I grew tired of looking at my screen. I went to bed. 

I would be sleeping. 

Someone needs me to pray. I wanted to sleep. 

I would be sleeping.

I rose from my bed and prayed. And prayed. And prayed some more. I got back into bed and prayed myself to sleep.

I would be sleeping. 

Was it an hour? I don’t know. Probably not. But, I prayed. 

I would be sleeping.


Knees Down, Prayers Up