And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.
What a tender heart that Jesus had for His disciples. Even in the midst of His own agony before He faces the wrath of God on the cross, He is concerned about Peter. He knows what is on the horizon for him. He wants Peter to have the strength he’ll need to face that, and He knows that strength comes through prayer. He Himself would beseech His Father three times to be delivered from His own trial to come. Jesus Himself sought His Father’s will and guidance prior to the most agonizing thing He would face. He looked to God for exactly what He needed and invited Peter to do the same.
But though Jesus had equipped him and guided him and told him what was necessary, it was up to Peter to follow through, to fight through the sleepiness and go to the Father in earnest prayer for the strength and wisdom to prepare him for what would come next. It was up to Peter to purposefully seek out the Father’s will, to communicate with Him and receive what he would need from his time in sweet communion.
Because when it comes down to it, we are but flesh, weak and prone to fail and to give in to wrong desires all the time. So often we feel the heaviness that comes from dwelling in these bodies of flesh. We have to continually nourish them to keep them going, and then we have to stop and rest in order to gain energy. And that flesh needs an undergirding of strength from a source outside of ourselves. That flesh needs something more to overcome those temptations. We need the power of God upon us, and it will come to us if we seek it from Him.
Why do we try to depend so much on something so prone to failure? Why are we so willing to be defeated when we can gain what we need through a committed focus on prayer in our lives? A lack of spiritual preparation led to a “what have I done” moment in Peter’s life. It led to true sorrow and mourning and a scar upon his heart to have denied his Lord as he did. Our own lack of spiritual preparation will lead to fleshly responses when trials, challenges, or hardships come. Our natural weaknesses will trip us up time and time again if we continue to trust too much in our own flesh. So let us not neglect important times of prayer, hours if necessary, overnight if need be, and find the strength God will offer us there. We need Him to equip us to face temptations that will come. We need the comfort and assurance He offers us. We need His wisdom and guidance to show us the proper path. Sometimes we just need to stop so easily giving in to our flesh and what it demands and seek the face of God.