Watch and pray? Or sleep on?

“Couldn’t you three keep awake with me for a single hour? Watch and pray, all of you, that you may not have to face temptation. Your spirit is willing, but human nature is weak” (Matthew 26:40, 41, J. B. Phillips, The New Testament in Modern English). This was the plea Jesus made to his disciples as he faced the most daunting event of his earthly career. He begged them a second time to watch and pray. They still didn’t. When he went to them the third time, the King James Version of the Bible says he said to them, “Sleep on now, and take your rest” (Matthew 26:45). And, without their watchfulness and prayer, he moved on through his arrest, beatings, crucifixion, and the resurrection, deserted by most of them. 

Do we really want to sleep on—stay in the deadening material sense of existence?

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