I recently had the privilege of serving the Lord on my first healing retreat here at Ellel Grange. I’d been preparing to be part of the ministry team, but, during the day, I was told that I was to be part of the intercession team. If I’m honest I’d had no real experience or knowledge of intercession, especially on a healing retreat, but I felt reassured that I’d be paired up with someone who had.
The evening came around and I was told that my intercession partner wasn’t very well and wouldn’t be able to make that evening. However, I thought I’d be OK if I sat quietly, prayed, read some scriptures and prayed for the guests who’d come. After the worship time, at 8 o'clock, I went upstairs to the landing and made myself comfortable for a time of seeking the Lord. But by 8.30 I was really struggling. I found it hard to pray, couldn’t focus on my bible, felt distant from God, and was beginning to fall asleep. It had become a real battle.
I’d always questioned the fact that the disciples had fallen asleep, when Jesus had asked them to pray. How could they fall asleep when Jesus Himself, in person, had asked them to pray for Him, to stay alert, and pray until He returned.
Yet how weak I was! After being given the responsibility of interceding for the guests, I almost fell asleep, after just thirty minutes!
Through this experience, God taught me the importance of interceding in two’s. I now have a fuller understanding of why Jesus sent the disciples out in two’s. It was to be accountable, support, pray for, help and encourage each other, as they were serving the Lord. When we intercede, we’re entering into spiritual warfare with the enemy, and we need to be fully aware of this fact, and stand firm in faith that what we’re doing and saying is having an effect in the spiritual realms.
As Christians, it’s so important that we’re awake and alert in all things. ‘Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’ (1 Peter 5-8).
When I was reading the scripture passage for today (Matthew 46:40-41), I noticed that it didn’t take long for the disciples to fall asleep. On three occasions, Jesus had left the disciples so He could spend some time praying to His Father. But, each time, on His return, He found them asleep.
This is relevant for us today. Jesus has gone to be with His Father in heaven, and has asked us to pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17). But one day He’ll return, and come back for His disciples (you and I). The question is, will He find us praying and ready for His return, or will He find us sleeping?
Prayer: Father, we know that you have called us to be alert at all times, especially as the days grow darker. Father we pray that our eyes and hearts will always be fixed on you and that we stay awake and prepared for your return. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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