Devotional Thoughts Based on the Glory to God Hymnal
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death, remain here and stay awake with me.” And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed. “My Father, if it is possible let this cup pass from me., yet not what I want, but what you want.” Then he came to his disciples and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “So could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial, the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Again, he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” Again, he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time saying the same words. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See the hour is a t hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See my betrayer is at hand.”
Matthew 26:36-45 (NRSV)
Years ago, I criticized the disciples for going to sleep after Jesus had asked them to keep watch and pray. Now, I sympathize with them! Do you have trouble staying awake?
It seems that I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Put me in a La-Z-Boy recliner and I will be asleep even faster. It was Irving Berlin who wrote,
“So, if you’re worried and you can’t sleep, just count your blessings instead of sheep, and you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.”
I have nodded off while saying my prayers. What about you?
Jesus was disappointed and hurt that his trusted threesome could not keep watch and pray for one hour. Three times they fell asleep while Jesus agonized in prayer. Nevertheless, Jesus, being fully human, must have sympathized with the weary disciples too.
O God, You are so good to us that we can indeed fall asleep counting our blessings. Thank you for hearing the blessings we name as well as knowing the ones which go unmentioned. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.