January 23, 2009

Mighty Prayer: Watch and Pray

Gethsemane By Adam Abram
As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane just before He was crucified, He taught His disciples a valuable lesson; a lesson that each of us should learn. He taught of the penetrating and enabling power of prayer. While praying alone, He returned to His disciples, and upon finding them asleep He told them: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt 26:41). Thus, Jesus teaches that two things are required that we enter not into temptation: watching and praying.

The first key the Master gives is to “watch.” According to the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary, the term watch means: “To keep guard; to act as sentinel; to look for danger. To be attentive; to be vigilant in preparation for an event or trial, the time of whose arrival is uncertain.” Thus, when Jesus asked His disciples to watch, He was asking them to be attentive, or keep guard not only to keep them from temptation, but to watch for impending danger and future events. Just as a guard is not only set to protect from danger, he is also set to report all events that occur on his watch.

Therefore, if we are to watch, that we “enter not into temptation,” we are to watch with an attentive eye for danger. But we also are to “look forward with an eye of faith” (Alma 5:15). To watch means to both be weary of danger, but also to have faith in He who overcame all. “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God” (Ether 12:4). Through “watching” with faith we become “steadfast” and “abounding in good works.” Or in other words, we are empowered to not “enter into temptation.”

This power is due to the fact that in order to have true faith we must have faith in the future. We must have faith, that though we are weak, yet we may become strong through the power of Christ. That though we live in a world of darkness and sin we “hope for a better world.” Though we cannot see this future of joy, happiness, and perfection, we have faith that it will come, for “faith is things which are hoped for and not seen” (Ether 12:6).

The next key the Lord gives us to gain strength during times of temptation is to “pray.” Just prior to this, Jesus had prayed to the Father for strength that He Himself could overcome. He prayed: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will but thine be done” (Luke 22:42). In this act of prayer we learn a key to gaining strength, that of submitting our will to the Father. In doing so we place our faith in Him and in His will. We say in a sense, “Father, this is difficult for me, yet I know that because thou knowest all things, and comprehendeth all, that Thou canst give me power to succeed. I do not need to have this cup removed if it is not Thy will, for Thou knowest why I must drink of the cup. For Thine ways are higher than mine.”

Through prayer, we unite our spirit and physical body in the act of submission. Through submission, though our “spirit is indeed willing” and our “flesh is weak,” we align these two bodies, to gain power through unity. For it is through unity that power comes. Think of a well organized and powerful business. Successful companies only become great when they are able to have a united effort. Only when the board of directors is united with the shareholders and the chief officers can the business prosper. Once disunity is created, collapse, failure and bankruptcy are sure to ensue. We learn in the scriptures that God the Father and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are already one. This does not mean they are one in person, but one in purpose, just as a successful board of directors can be called one board. Because of this unity that the Godhead has together, they are able to be all-powerful. When we learn to become united with them, we likewise can gain this same strength. As taught here by the Savior, one of the best ways to become one with God is through prayer.

Thus, to overcome temptation and tribulation, we must learn to “watch” and “pray.” Only when we are able to obtain these two keys, can we unite our spirit and our physical body in one purpose through submission to the Lord and be enabled to overcome and do all things that the Lord does command.

5 comments:

  1. I would like to find out who this artist is and what the name of the print is.

    Thanks sooooo much.

    tolgomh@yahoo.com

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  2. dear friend

    this picture is really wonderful...it reveals the very pain of Jesus....as i looking to it piercing my heart..who is the artist?

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  3. really inspiring

    thank u sooooomuch
    with prayer
    shobhacsn@.com

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  4. The painting is called Gethsemane by Adam Abram. It is one of my favorite paintings.

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  5. He's selling it over on his web site now ( www.adamabram.com ); it used to be just a portfolio site.

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