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Devotional Part 11

28 Apr 2021

Mark 14:32-42

Facing His impending arrest, Jesus commits himself to prayer, and asks the disciples to do the same. However, upon returning to them He finds His disciples asleep.

But then He says something that catches my attention.

“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing but the flesh is weak.”

Mark 14:38

I find this utterly fascinating for several reasons.

Firstly, the clear implication is that prayer is an effective weapon against temptation, and of course, the flesh is always involved in our temptation. So if we want to keep the flesh at bay we must pray, and particularly, pray that we would not enter into temptation.

Previously when reading this passage my focus has always been on the laziness and undependability of the disciples. Jesus asked the disciples to pray, but they kept falling asleep. Not the most reliable of allies. Not exactly the fearsome prayer warriors interceding for the Lord to strengthen His arm for what was to come.

Now however, I’m seeing this call to pray against entering into temptation. We can actually pray to our Father that we would not enter into temptation; amazing!

There are times in our lives when situations arise that we know will put us into a position where we are likely to be tempted. In those situations we can pray not to enter temptation.

Sometimes the Lord will answer this prayer by removing the situation so that we don’t have to go there or see those people. At other times He will strengthen you in that particular situation so that you may stand when presented the opportunity to sin.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it.

“Father…lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”

Jesus teaches us to pray this way in the Lord’s Prayer, right along with the prayer that His will would be done.

Could it be that we treat lightly the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray, and through them taught us?

We refer to the Lord’s Prayer in our gatherings so rarely, and when we do it is as if a recitation of a magical incantation that we’ve learned by rote as if just saying it will release the magical power it contains.

Instead though, could it actually be that the Lord in His wisdom has already given us all we need in one prayer, a prayer into which every aspect of the Christian life is condensed?

Could it be that He, as the Master Coder of the universe has taken everything we need pertaining to life and Godliness, about the life of a disciple, and condensed it into a zip file that we call the Lords’s Prayer?

If so, then the secret to putting to death the deeds of the flesh, to mortifying our sin is actually contained in that prayer!

The Lord’s Prayer is not some magic spell to protect us against the evil one, but the key to the whole of life in The Way of Jesus.

The second thing that sticks out to me from Jesus statement comes in the way of a question.

If Peter had indeed prayed as Jesus had asked, would Peter have been kept from the temptation to deny Jesus? Is this implicit in what Jesus was saying?

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