We continue the Dangerous Prayers series pointing out two reasons we need to pray prayers that invite investigation, surrender and change: 1) To clear the way for the revival of primitive godliness; 2) Because Jesus is coming and we don’t want to be swept up in end-time delusions—especially those that may come from within our own hearts. (See Jer. 17:9.)
The dangerous prayers we are praying are: Search me, break me, send me. They are designed to disturb our comfort zones and wake us spiritually. That’s why on Sabbath I introduced a fourth dangerous prayer—“Wake Me.” As humans, we tend to succumb to spiritual narcolepsy at the worst possible times.
Rewind to Luke 22:39-26. This was the critical moment in the plan of redemption with the destiny of the human race hanging in the balance. The enemy and his legions were ready to unleash the last and most powerful temptations against Christ.
Knowing the fierceness of the battle about to be fought, Jesus said to his disciples, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” (vs. 40) But they couldn’t do it! Luke points out that they were “exhausted from sorrow” (vs. 45). This lets us know that we are most vulnerable to temptation and sin when we are worn out with worry and grief.
Right now we are living in a state of chronic exhaustion, not just of body, but of mind and spirit. The pandemic, the politics, the protests, the disruption of our lives is exhausting…and dangerous. That is why we need to pray the dangerous prayer, “Wake Me.” It’s the wrong time to sleep.
The temptation that Jesus warned them to pray against is the temptation to “adopt ways of your own choosing” as opposed to submitting to the ways of God’s choosing. This was the very temptation Christ was battling and it is the very temptation we face now and will again tomorrow. Is it worth it to do it God’s way?
“Why are you sleeping? He asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” (vs. 46) This is what we must do now. Wake me Jesus because when I sleep, I respond inappropriately in crisis. Read vs. 49, 50. Having slept, Peter now acts, not according to the spirit (compare Matt. 26:41), but out of his weak, unprepared, flesh. And there is too much weak, unsanctified flesh on display among the people of God today. With our words we lash out and cut off ears thinking we’re doing God a favor. But it’s the wrong response. Our prayer is that in a crisis we know how to respond appropriately.
Wake me Jesus because when I sleep, I take offense at the ways of God. Because the disciples slept when they should have been praying, they couldn’t understand why Jesus permitted Himself to be arrested. They had really been sleepwalking since the Passover supper where they had been arguing about the seating arrangements at the table. When you sleep instead of pray, you are petty and self-absorbed and the ways of God offend you. It doesn’t make sense to serve your enemy instead of taking revenge on them, but those who are awake to the Spirit understand.
Wake me Jesus because when I sleep, I get more distant from the Savior. Read vs. 54. Peter followed at a distance. And when we sleep instead of pray, our relationship to Jesus gets distant and strange. Peter tried to blend in with the crowd. What crowds are you blending into?
Jesus said, “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” (Rev. 3:11) Don’t let any man, woman or philosophy “take your crown.” Do not lose your identity in the cacophony of voices screaming for attention. In this hour of crisis stay awake and get as close to Jesus as you can.
Wake me Jesus because when I sleep, I deny YOU. [Read vs. 55-62.] For every time Peter slept when encouraged by Jesus to pray, he denied Him. Our danger is that if we sleep now, we too could end up denying our Lord. Be careful with your thoughts, words and actions during this time of exhaustion and overwhelm. When we trust ourselves and lash out in condemnation or judgment against a brother or sister with whom we disagree, we are saying as Peter did, “I don’t know the Man!”
The disciples slept at the moment of the greatest battle for the souls of humanity just before the death of Jesus. We modern disciples must not sleep at this moment of the greatest crisis just before the triumphant return of Jesus.
Two questions I want you to add to your journal and pray over this week: 1) In what areas of your life are you spiritually asleep? 2) Where is the spirit willing but the flesh weak?
“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Eph. 5:14-16. Make the most of this and every opportunity. Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.
Pastor Randy Maxwell