Matthew 13:24-25, “24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.”
In our month of prayer and fasting, it is beneficial to address three areas that affect the spheres of our prayer lives 1. THE REASON TO PRAY, 2. THE POWER TO PRAY, 3.THE HOW TO PRAY. We start with The Reason To Pray.
The enemy has one mission, to keep believers asleep. To paralyze, disable, disarm and what better tool to use but sleep. It was Keith Green who wrote a song, “Believers are asleep in the light while the lost are asleep in the dark”.
Asleep is the state of not being alert enough to function or operate properly. It’s in sleepiness that we become sluggish, lukewarm, weary from spiritual duties; we neglect our duties as men. “Satan ruins men by flattering them into a good opinion of their own safety, and so bringing them to mind nothing, and fear nothing; and then he robs them of their strength and honor, and leads them captive at his will, when we sleep our spiritual enemies do not.”, Matthew Henry. It’s in sleeping that the enemy plants weeds (fear, doubt, anger, lustful thoughts, resentments etc). It’s when men are asleep that the enemy takes full control, planting tares. Look at what Delilah did to Samson to take away his strength, Judges 16:19, “Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him”. The tragedy of a believer is to lay his head on the lap of the Delilah’s of this world and fall asleep.
A person in a deep sleep is not aware of the time, or what is happening. He could be slain and not fight back. The enemy has shaved off your locks of Prayers, Reading of the word, being the man of God in your homes, honoring your wife, discipling your children, reaching the lost, strength to overcome sin, hunger for righteousness. Now you are left with no strength.
Jesus told His disciples, Mark 14:38, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. …”, Those who are awake cannot be easily destroyed. When Jesus knew His time for crucifixion was getting nearer, He began to prepare His disciples for the things that were coming a head of them. The very best was to tell Peter to be ready as the devil had desired to sift him and to assure him of His prayers for him. This was not just for Peter but for the rest of the disciples too. He had already warned them Peter in particular that an egregious trial was imminent. Sadly, that warning as well as His imploring them to pray went unheeded. It did not burden them to do something about it. Those who are troubled don’t fall asleep. Those who are troubled will be in vertical position rather than horizontal position. They understand that it’s time to watch and pray.
When I read the passage in Luke 22, I see a collective of things in their lives threatened the reason they needed to pray. If the Master was arrested as He would, 1. Their faith would be shaken to the point of denying Christ, they needed to pray. 2. Their unity was going to be in jeopardy. You take away the shepherd, the sheep scatter; 3. Their prayer time would keep them solid in God’s will even in the midst of the trial ahead of them. 4. They needed to pray to be strong.
At the garden of Gethsemane, what did he find them doing when He came back from praying Himself? He found them fast asleep instead of watching and praying to evade becoming vulnerable to the enemy’s prey. Luke 22:45-46, “45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. 46 Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”
We battle a threefold enemy: the world, the flesh and the devil. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, 1John 2:16. What is our hope? Be strengthened by these verses and pray, 1Thessalonians 5:6, “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober”; 1Peter 1:13, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober; 1Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour”.
When men don’t pray, the enemy will prey. Like a soldier in the battle field, the enemy wants to cut our communication line with headquarters. Blessings Ev