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Study to Grow

By Doug Bell

Matthew 26:36-46

41 ”Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”


The verses above, tell of Jesus’ time in Gethsemane the night before He was taken to be judged, beaten, and crucified! He knew what was coming. He had just told them;

2You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”

Notice that Jesus ‘wanted’ His closest friends with Him at this desperate hour, but not for what we might think. He didn’t need them to commiserate with Him how awful it was going to be. He didn’t need them to cheer Him on to finish the course. He didn’t even need them to stand next to Him during the whole ordeal (they all ran away). What Jesus wanted, what He needed from them was, that they hold Him up and support Him through their prayers!

According to one Barna survey.... the average Christian spends only 1 minute a day in prayer... and the average Pastor only spends 5 minutes. Now if theses statistics are true (I think they may be too generous!) then it is no wonder the Church is having so little impact upon our World!

One blogger has described why he thinks Western Christians pray less than those in third-world countries. The reasons Westernized Christians don't pray, and Third World Christians do, include these.

  1. SENSE OF NEED: More access to human helping agencies lowers the desperation level. But when I was, e.g., teaching and speaking in India, the lack of access to medical care, education, jobs, etc. was massive. One could only turn to God, in prayer. So in India I found pastors who were praying people. The less felt need there is, the less one prays; the more felt need there is, the more one prays.

  2. NEED TO CONTROL: Westernized Christians live under the general cultural illusion that they are in control of life; Third World non-westernized Christians live in a cultural world where human control is minimal at best; hence, they appeal to God (or gods, or spirits) for help. The more one feels in control of life, the less one prays; the less one feels in control of life, the more one prays.

  3. TIME: The more stuff a person has, the less they pray. Much of their life is dictated by their stuff, which demands much time protecting, arranging, storing, repairing, cleaning, cultivating, etcing. Stuff demands time. On the other hand, the less personal ownership, the more actual time to pray. The busier one is the less one has time to pray; the less stuff one has, the more one has time to pray.

Whatever the reason is, the simple fact is; Christian’s are not praying as they should.

In 2019, at the SBC Pastor’s Conference

ORLANDO—Saying “I am convinced that one of the greatest sins in the life of pastors and churches is the sin of prayerlessness,” Ronnie Floyd, president of the SBC Executive Committee in Nashville, Tenn., implored Florida pastors to revive a discipline of prayer.(2)

Spurgeon is said to have told the story that after preaching a strong sermon in which several people became Christians. A man came up to him afterwards and exclaimed “What a power preacher you are Mr. Spurgeon!” Without saying a word, Spurgeon lead him to the basement of the church. When they arrived at the boiler room, He opened the door. There twelve men were on their knees praying to God. Pointing to them, Spurgeon said, “Here sir, is what gives power to my preaching!”

And the point is we all KNOW we are not praying enough or as much as we should.

So, let me throw in a commercial here; this Wednesday Night (May 19th) at 6:30 pm, here at CBC, Pastor Dennis is starting a new Class just on “Prayer!” Not only the different aspects of prayer, but actually spending time in prayer! Maybe you haven’t been to Church in awhile because of Covid. Here is a great reason to start coming back this week.

When Jesus comes back again, will He find you sleeping or about His Work? We should all remember;

41 ”Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”


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