“Pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Luke 22:40, ESV)
When Jesus faced the trial of his life, he requested Peter, James and John to enter that trial with him in prayer (Matthew 26:37-38). Unfortunately, they slept while he suffered alone (Matthew 26:40), some of the most unfortunate moments in the life of Christ.
If Jesus felt the need for heaven’s strength, how much greater was their need? And who are we?
- Do we need less of heaven’s strength than our Lord?
- Are we stronger than he?
- Is Satan less interested in us than in Peter?
- Are we better than he?
- Are we less susceptible than Peter to prideful self-assurance?
- And what about our brethren? Do we need their prayers and encouragement less than the Lord did those of his friends?
I think not.
When it comes to temptation (as above, Luke 22:40), prayer is the mortar that holds our spiritual walls together. We must identify our vulnerable places and fill them diligently with prayer. The weakness of our flesh (1 Peter 2:11) necessitates an abiding prayer life (cf. Luke 18:1), and one that seeks help from others (Galatians 6:2).
If we are to both overcome our weaknesses, and develop a fruitful spirit, we must seek greater dependence upon God and our brethren. Without God, spiritual strength is impossible (John 15:4). We must ask, repeatedly (Matthew 7:7; James 4:2). We cannot live joyful, fulfilling, fruitful Christian lives unless we are willing to repent of our independence, and beg God and our brethren for help (2 Corinthians 12:9; James 5:16).
If Jesus felt the need to ask for help, both human and divine, it would be foolish and arrogant of us to think we do not need the same.