What it means to pray with Jesus.

“Could you not watch with Me one hour?” Mark 14:38

This Holy Week we are once again invited to take the journey with Jesus to the Last Supper, into the Garden of Gethsemane and then to ascend the hill of Golgotha to the cross. In my last blog post I shared how when Jesus initially called His disciples, and us, His first and primary intention was, and always will remain, that we simply be with Him. And I made the point that being with Him is expressed most naturally through relating to Him in prayer, just as He related to the Father.

The very last time Jesus was with His disciples, pre-crucifixion, that night in the Garden of Gethsemane, He renewed that “be with” calling in a way that has been indelibly etched in the heart of every follower of Christ. Knowing He would no longer be with them in the natural, He was preparing them for a post resurrection relationship with Him in the Spirit. One of the last things He said to Peter, James and John in the Garden that night was “remain here and keep watch with Me.” (Matthew 26:38) He then moved further beyond them “about a stone’s throw away,” knelt falling with His face to the ground and began praying with such fervency that “His sweat became like drops of blood.”

When He arose from prayer He came back to the three and found them sleeping. It was then that He said these oft-quoted and hauntingly powerful words “Could you not watch with Me one hour?” (Matthew 26: 40)

The two words that I want to give special consideration to in this meditation are “with Me.” In the Gethsemane account in the book of Matthew we see in the space of three verses Jesus urging His disciples to watch and prayer using the “with Me” reference two successive times. (vs. 38 & 40)