Luke 22:45, When He rose from prayer and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow.
What is your go-to response when life is overwhelming? Is your automatic reflex to stress a nap? There is something about going to sleep that shuts out the world for just a little while. Whether it’s just the everyday stresses of life, financial struggles, or issues with loved ones, it’s tempting just to pull the covers over our heads and disappear for a moment.
Could that be what happened to the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane? In Luke 22, Jesus asked His disciples to wait for Him while He went to pray. But when He returned, He found them sleeping. Now, be honest: have you ever kind of rolled your eyes in disgust and thought the disciples to be lazy or even heartless from this verse? If so, it might be helpful to you to go back and read today’s Scripture slowly and out loud.
Luke 22:45 tells us why the men were sleeping. They were exhausted from “sorrow.” Jesus had told them what was coming. The time was near, and they were consumed by sorrow and sadness. Now can you relate? Doesn’t that make you see these men in a completely different and much more compassionate light?
When Jesus returned to find the men asleep, His response was “Rise and pray, lest you fall into temptation” (verse 46).
Satan is always waiting for an opportune time to strike (Luke 4:13). What better time to strike than when we are neglecting prayer, feeling overwhelmed, or retreating into isolation? Naps are good. Rest is necessary. Don’t get me wrong – I am all about a restorative Sunday afternoon nap. But if sleep or escape is our go-to defense mechanism, we may want to rethink our pattern of behavior and refocus on our Father, who is big enough to handle any situation.
What if instead of sleeping or seeking physical comfort, our first instinct was to pray? We could ask Him to give us energy just to do the next thing – to give us wisdom to know when to rest and when to carry on and seek His face in prayer though the night. The next time life seems a bit too much and you’re tempted to hide, get up and pray instead.