We do pray for many reasons. We pray because we love God and we want to communicate with Him. We pray when we are in need of something, in trouble, in pain, or in danger. We pray for our sakes as well as for the well being of our loved ones and associates. Sometimes we pray out of desperation, and other times, we pray out of duty.
We feel guilty when we don't pray and feel great when we do pray as we ought to. Some of us choose to pray in the early hours of the day, while others prefer to pray before going to bed. We assume God to be well pleased when we pray to Him, and displeased when we don't seek Him in prayer. Though we may have many reasons to pray, there's one other good reason we need to pray.
In Mark 14; 37, in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus tells Peter, "...Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
Peter was unaware of what's going to happen in the next couple of hours. But Jesus knew. Only a day earlier, when Jesus told His disciples "You will all fall away, for it is written, " I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, " Peter had declared, " Even if all fall away, I will not." He was so confident of his love for His Master that he took no account of his weakness.
If only he had remembered what Jesus had told him soon after the Last Supper in the upper room, he may have acted differently. Jesus told him,
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22: 31-32)
As Jesus predicted, within two days, Peter stood in the courtyard of the high priest and denied knowing Christ. Giving into fear, he disowned the One, whom he vouched of not abandoning for any reason.
If only Peter had taken Jesus’ words seriously and given to much praying, he could have gained the courage to stand up for His Master at any cost. Prayer could have become an armor to guard him from giving into fear and temptation. It's for Peter's sake, Jesus wanted him to watch and pray.
In the Book of Job, we find Satan asking permission to test the faith of Job. Peter, like Job had the freedom to pass or fail the test. We too have the same freedom of choice. Most of the times, our eyes are blind to see what Satan is orchestrating behind the scene. It is here prayer plays a vital role in shielding us from the enemy’s deceitful pranks. Jesus taught us to pray, “Do not lead us into temptation.” If we keep alert and follow His instruction, like Peter we too might be called to strengthen our brothers and sisters in Christ, when we see them going through trials and temptations.
“Without prayer, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word, have no power. All depends on prayer. May God teach us to believe this and to hold fast.” ~ Andrew Murray