While I was doing my quiet time reading today, I came across a passage I have read a hundred times but I never saw this before. Matthew 26:36-45 is the passage that describes Jesus praying in Gethsemane. He takes with Him Peter, James, and John and asks them to "Keep watch" with Him while He prays.
Why does Jesus ask the disciples to "Keep watch"? Why didn't Jesus ask them to join with Him in prayer? What is the relationship between keeping watch and praying? Who or what are they supposed to be watching for?
I have checked several commentaries and I haven't come up with a good explanation for the relationship of keeping watch and praying.
I would love to hear your thoughts on what this means.
Here's my quick reflections on this - this is just off the cuff, and I acknowledge that I can be wrong about this, but here's my take.
First, Jesus wanted to teach His disciples how to handle trials and tribulations. They were to keep their eyes on Jesus and learn from Him how to pray in times of difficulty. The disciples would face their own times of hardship and this was a way for Jesus to prepare them for that.
Second, keeping watch is synonymous with prayer. It means to seek God's perspective and guidance over the issues being prayed for. It implies one's humility in acknowledging that we do not know and that only God knows. It shows our faith and trust in a God who knows better than we do. To keep watch means to pray and being open and willing to see everything through God's eyes.
Prayer is not just a bundle of words that expresses our wish list. Prayer is keeping watch over what God has put before us and seeking God's perspective through prayer.
Again, I would love your thoughts about this.
What do you think?