“Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?’ he asked Peter. ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.'” (Matthew 26:40-41, NIV)
We are full of potential! Of all of the external influences that conspire to limit our achievement and hobble the power of the spirit within us, physical fatigue is arguably the most formidable.
Then, we are tempted to excuse our failure to follow-through on our physical limitations: We are old (or young); we are ill-positioned; we are exhausted; we are handicapped. Jesus did not expect the disciples to do more than any of them were able. He never did. He expected only that they watch with Him for 60 minutes.
Our physical limitations are real, but they are not insurmountable — especially if we are willing to pray as we stand watch; and watch as we stand praying. Our physical limitations are real, but they are not insurmountable — especially if we are willing to include those nearest to us in the task. What might have been the outcome, despite their fatigue, had the 11 disciples chosen to (as Paul and Silas did some years later in prison; please see Acts 16:22-26 for the full story) pray and sing hymns to release the spirit; energize the flesh — and see the power of God come down? The spirit is willing! – Luther
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8, NLT)
A commentary on these verses in The People’s New Testament says this: “The terms are here used with reference to prayer, and these constitute a climax. Ask implies a simple petition. Seek indicates an earnest search. Knock shows perseverance in spite of hindrances. The three represent earnest prayer.”
Discerning sense from nonsense in the topic of prayer tries the patience of even the most stalwart of Christian disciples. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the topic; and some of these opinions appear contradictory.
In every such instance, return to the simple words of our Christ: Ask. Seek. Knock.
God knows what we want before we ask, but He is delighted by the petitions of His children, in the manner of a small child who always takes all of her joys, concerns, and hurts to her father’s ear, because, “My daddy can do anything!” – Luther