Monday, December 13, 2010
Rise and Pray
And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And he withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”Luke 22:39-46
There are many ways to pray. I can remember trying to stay awake while my Daddy was preaching in church. He had a pastoral prayer that used to go on for a long time. I am told that when I was quite small I stood up on the pew and said, quite loudly, "Amen, Daddy, Amen!" Many of us want to shoot off a quick prayer and we never want to be in silence or reflective time for too long. We want our communication with God as instant as text messages on cell phones or face book. And yet most of us probably spend more time with our cell phones and computers than we do with God. Rising and praying, sticking with the conversation until resolution comes is a hard thing and it takes commitment and dedication. And yet, the gift of an active prayer life is freedom and peace. The most prayerful ones are always the most compassionate, forgiving and without judgment or bitterness to anyone.
The disciples had a big meal and we heavy with sleep. Jesus wanted them to stay with him and pray with him. He knew how treacherous life was at that moment for him, probably because he was regularly in prayer. The disciples were oblivious to the strife and violence surrounding them. Jesus wanted them to stay with him and also knew how human and how frail they were. He forgave them despite their abandonment.
Today, I want to commit anew to a life of constant prayer, a life dedicated to opening my heart to God in every breath. I pray that I can come to the place where I am numbered among those who are compassionate and forgiving, who live their life for Christ and his face in all others.