When Jesus found the disciples asleep in Gethsemane, his words convey exasperation: “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” (Matthew 26:40)
One author added the following:
“All the disciples, by sleeping in that critical hour, sustained a great loss. Christ knew the fiery ordeal through which they were to pass…Had those hours in the garden been spent in watching and prayer, Peter would not have been left to depend upon his own feeble strength. He would not have denied his Lord. Had the disciples watched with Christ in His agony, they would have been prepared to behold His suffering upon the cross…Amid the gloom of the most trying hour, some rays of hope would have lighted up the darkness and sustained their faith.”The Desire of Ages, p. 713
When I read this statement, I feel it in my bones. There have certainly been times in my life when I’ve not made prayer a priority. During those times I’ve found myself running up against the limits of my own strength, wondering what I lacked to make my life “better.” By depriving ourselves of daily time in communion with God, we, as Mrs. White said above, “sustain a great loss.” We may not understand what it is about prayer that moves the hand and heart of God, but I assert by faith that we ought to do as Jesus did—which included a rich communion with the Father through prayer (Luke 11:1).
Many a sermon has been preached and many a book is written on the power and importance of prayer. However, I’d suggest that arguably no statement, outside of scripture at least, has been written so succinctly as this:
“Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.”Steps to Christ, p. 93
I encourage you to preserve and protect your daily time in prayer with God (I’m speaking to myself as well!). Don’t let your children, your job, your social media feed, or anything else interrupt that critical time each day. While we’re not promised a life of comfort and ease, we are, through prayer, promised divine peace and perspective (John 16:33). If there’s one thing that we can rely on, it’s that we serve a God who keeps His promises.