Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, ”Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”Matthew 26:40-41 NLT

Sometimes, prayer comes naturally. I see a beautiful sunset. Praise and gratitude swell up inside my soul and out bursts a prayer to the One who made it. Or, I’m in a crisis and feeling desperate. I cry out to God for help in a state of panic or dread. It’s perhaps a less eloquent prayer but an almost automatic response to distress. Those prayers come easily, but in between? Sometimes, prayer is work.

How about you? For example, when you commit to pray for someone battling an ongoing illness, are you always ready and eager to beseech God for their healing every day, or are you sometimes weary, sleepy, or selfishly unmotivated? It’s a time sacrifice and an emotional and physical sacrifice to genuinely pray for someone in trouble. Prayer takes effort, focus, and a willingness to enter into another’s pain and bring that pain, through intercession, to the God who can help the one who is hurting.

Is it worth it? Is the focus, the mental fatigue, the perseverance worth the effort—even when we see no visible sign that God is moving? Yes. Absolutely yes.

How do I know this? When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was less than a day away from His death, and He knew He needed to pray. He knew His disciples needed to pray if they were going to support Him and handle all that was about to occur. Twice, He asked them to pray and “keep watch” despite their weariness. Twice, they failed Him and succumbed to sleep. Maybe because they slept instead of praying, they ran when the soldiers came to take Jesus away. Later, when Peter and John crept into the courtyard during one of Jesus’ many trials, Peter denied He knew Jesus. Peter was weak. Was that because he had not prayed? Jesus’ desire for them to pray was not just for His own support. Jesus knew they would fall into temptation without prayer, and Peter did.

Prayer mattered that night. Jesus’ prayer was so passionate and agonized that Luke tells us, “He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood” (Luke 22:44 NLT). That sounds like work. Yet the only One who prayed was given supernatural strength and went to the cross willingly and steadfastly, enduring the pain and shame. Even Jesus, the Son of God, seemed to need and draw strength from God through times of prayer. It was more important to Him than sleep.

Prayer matters today as well. Although God is quite able to work in any way He pleases, He chooses to work through our prayers. He promises that the asking will yield something that not asking will not. I’ve seen God’s hand at work in some amazing ways as His people have prayed. And that makes sense to me. If it weren’t important, Jesus wouldn’t have asked His disciples to pray. Right?

As we reflect on all that happened during the week leading up to the crucifixion, let’s not forget the garden and the praying that occurred that night. Let’s commit anew to choosing to sacrifice time and sleep when the Lord asks it of us, knowing God moves in beautiful ways when we respond to His call to prayer. It’s worth all the effort expended as we cry out on behalf of another. It’s one of the sweetest gifts we can give—precisely because it costs us. And God is pleased when we come and ask, and He promises to answer. Let’s heed our Savior and do the work of prayer and bring blessing to those who need it.

Heavenly Father, prayer is such a mystery to me. You heard Jesus’ cry in the garden that if there was another way, He wanted it. Yet You still asked Him to walk toward the cross. You don’t always give us what we want. Yet, through that prayer, You strengthened and enabled Your Son to endure what was to come. Whether You grant my requests or not, I believe You work every time I pray. Help me to pray when it’s hard as well as when it’s easy, investing myself for the benefit of others when their needs are great. And thank You that when we pray, You are always there, strengthening and helping those of us who bow before You. Most of all, thank You for the finished work You accomplished on the cross that redeemed us and brought us from darkness into light. In the Name of the Risen Savior, Jesus, Amen.

You are loved,




Sweet Selah Ministries

To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service

To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

If you’ve been blessed, keep the blessing going!
Click over to our Donation page … and thanks.





Share it. Pin it.

6 Comments. Leave new

  • Donna Perkins
    March 25, 2024 2:39 pm

    I’ve come to understand why we’re called to “sacrificial” prayer. Because on one hand, as His children, we now have a built in drive to pray. Yet our flesh makes out something we have to work at. We dance to choose to pray, we have to choose to spend time with God. That means having to lay down and set aside all the other stuff we would rather be doing or feel we need to be doing. I need to grow in this area!!!

    • Sharon Gamble
      March 25, 2024 2:43 pm

      Yes! There’s a war with the flesh when prayer is work. And yet, the joy when we submit to it is so so good. We also have to guard, on the other side, a legalistic view that would make us think we “have” to pray for so long and with a specific intensity to “make” God answer. Which is very untrue! He hears to smallest cry. I’m so thankful for that. In the end, we need to be Spirit-led … guided by Him in when and how long to intercede for different situations. May He use us to intercede for others in beautiful ways – without the harrassment of the accuser who will whisper we are doing it wrong!

  • Margaret Fowler
    March 25, 2024 10:28 pm

    thanks for this reminder to pray and to always be willing to give time and sincerity in our prayers.

    • Sharon Gamble
      March 25, 2024 10:37 pm

      I’m so thankful that prayer matters to God – even if we don’t always see results the way we’d like to — it clearly is important.

  • God has graciously answered some of my long term prayers recently. It increases my hope and trust in God and the process of prayer that he has called us to. I still have many more requests on the table before my loving and merciful God but I am confident that he will answer when the time is right and in the very best way for my good and his glory!

    • Sharon Gamble
      March 29, 2024 7:33 pm

      Oh, what JOY to hear that God has answered some prayers of your heart after a long wait. Hooray and Praise God! So thankful for His work in our lives and I agree. We can trust Him in the timing. He sees the future and knows our hearts best.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Next Post
March 25 – Acts 2
Previous Post
March 24 – 2 Corinthians 13