Summary: Pt. 7 of 7 on learning to pray. looking at biblical people and how they connected to God through prayer.
Learning to Pray
Pt.7 Peter’s Failure
How many of you were the crammers in school? Wait to the last minute to study for a test? You were the one with your notes out furiously trying to cram any and all information into your head, hoping it will stick for the next hour or so while you take the test…
This past week some schools were giving out their final exams, and I got to proctor one of these exams… you had the kids that were relaxed, because they knew this stuff, you had the kids who were relaxed because they didn't know this stuff and didn't care, and then you had the kids who were pouring over their notes trying to stuff as much info as possible into their heads!
You know there are some things in life that it is okay to be unprepared for, like being surprised by family; meeting a new friend; being given a gift; winning the door prize or being the first caller; or hearing the words I’m pregnant! Often times we are unready for such things, but that what makes them so good, we didn't expect it.
However most often, it pays to be ready, to be prepared. We can’t always wing it and hope things turn out, sometimes we have to be prepared, we have to be ready to face the things that are coming!
I think that it is interesting that is exactly what Jesus had been doing for his disciples, preparing them for his death, preparing them for their future, preparing them to be the leaders of a movement that would eventually sweep across the world, and change everything.
36Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I go over there and pray." 37And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38Then he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me." 39And 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." 40And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, "So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Whether you are at school, at camp, at church, or at home, if you work with children, you can sometimes become so frustrated that you make broad sweeping claims! “If you kids do this again, you will never ever get to play with anything ever again!!” “I have had enough, you are never ever going outside again, you will sit on your bed for the rest of your life!!” “If you do not settle down I will pack you up in a box and ship you to Abu Dhabi!” Of course we make these big claims, but we never ever back them up…
It is funny, just moments before this Peter makes a bold claim that he would die alongside Jesus, however right now, he can’t even stay awake for his friend. It is easy to make bold claims, to say I will do this for you Jesus, I will do that for you! I am going to witness to every person I come across, I am going to be there for you all the way! I am your man (or woman, if you are one)! But when it came right down to it, we don’t always follow through. Our spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
42Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, "My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done."43And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.45Then 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. 46Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand."
Again Peter fails, he fails to watch, and he fails to pray. Jesus asked him to watch, then he warned him to pray, but Peter fails to do any of this, instead he sleeps. His big claims, his passionate statements forgotten in the fog of sleep. At the time, Jesus was trying to prepare Peter and the others for what is coming, but now, now it’s too late.