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Praying With Christ One Hour Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
October 5, 2022 1:00 am

Praying With Christ One Hour Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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October 5, 2022 1:00 am

If it’s true that our schedules reflect our priorities, how important is God to us? In the garden of Gethsemane, the disciples fell asleep, causing the Savior to ask, “Could you not pray with Me for one hour?” In this message, we ponder four questions to guide us in praying with Christ for an hour of time. Let’s pray fervently, not wasting the time we have.

This month’s special offer is available for a donation of any amount. Get yours at rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-217-9337.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.

Its olive trees are very old. It's Gethsemane, a place even today for tears. Here, Jesus asked the disciples to pray with him. They fell asleep, causing the Savior to ask, could you not watch with me one hour?

Today, we ask that question anew. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, you and I have been together in Gethsemane, and I remember seeing tears in your eyes in that sacred place.

And you know, Dave, even though I've been to Israel many times, my favorite place is still the Garden of Gethsemane, because very close to where we visit, we know that Jesus Christ suffered greatly. He asked whether or not the Father could find another way, and of course the answer was no, and so he decided to go through with his experience. And you know, Jesus said, the cup that my Father has given me, shall I not drink it? He didn't say the cup that Pilate has given me or the cup that the Sanhedrin has given me.

The cup came from the Father. In my new book entitled No Reason to Hide, Standing for Christ in a Collapsing Culture, I have an entire chapter on suffering for Christ and suffering, as it were, with Christ. I wrote this because I think we as Westerners need to rethink our understanding of suffering. We think to ourselves that if we were faithful, we would not have to suffer.

Well, the answer is yes, faithfulness often produces suffering. And of course, in response, we should pray, as Jesus said to the disciples. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours, and at the end of this broadcast, I'm going to be sharing with you more content in the book, but you can go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Ask for the book No Reason to Hide, Standing for Christ in a Collapsing Culture. Aren't you glad that Christ stood for us? Let us determine to stand for Him. The question that I begin with today is very simple.

That is this. If your priorities are reflected by your schedule, if somebody were to look at your schedule, how important would they conclude that God was to you? If it's true that our schedules reflect our priorities, how important is God to us today? How much time in His Word and in prayer? Jesus was going through the convulsions of an emotional earthquake. He was about to become sin for humanity. He was about to be identified with sin. He was about to be crucified.

And the agony that he experienced in Gethsemane was not agony that came about because he feared crucifixion, horrendous though that was, but that was a means by which people died in those days, by the thousands. But the agony that he was going through was one of being separated from the Father and there in Gethsemane he settled the issue and he asked three of his disciples to come and to be with him as he prayed. The text is the 26th chapter of the book of Matthew, Matthew chapter 26, and I'll begin at verse 36. Matthew chapter 26 beginning at verse 36.

We read, then Jesus went out with them to a place called Gethsemane and he said to his disciples, sit here while I go there and pray. And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, that would be James and John, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, my soul is very sorrowful, even to death remain here and watch with me. And going a little farther, he fell on his face and prayed saying, my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will. And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. Then he said to Peter, so could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Just that far for now. Let me tell you the purpose of this message. I hope it's very clear. It is to motivate you to accept an invitation from the Lord Jesus that he gave to Peter, James and John to pray for one hour with him. One hour a week is today's challenge. Maybe on a Tuesday night, maybe on a Saturday morning from six to seven, whatever hour you designate for 52 weeks each week to spend one hour with Jesus in prayer. Now, in order to motivate you to do this, I want to answer four questions that come to us from the text of scripture regarding praying with Jesus Christ for an hour.

The first question, of course, is simply this. Why pray with Christ for one hour? Why accept this invitation?

And the answer very simply is that, first of all, because it's a tremendous privilege. Jesus had 70 disciples and then he had the 12 and then within the 12 there were Peter, James and John. And we're not sure exactly why he chose them.

It almost appears as if they were his favorites. They are the ones that were invited also onto the Mount of Transfiguration. But Jesus invites them and says, come watch with me during this time of my agony. What a privilege to respond to Jesus just like that. And even though he's not in on earth anymore in a physical body, is it not true that he invites us as it were in heaven to watch with him? He is, after all, the high priest who intercedes for us moment by moment, 24 hours a day.

He keeps supplying to God what God demands on our behalf. So when we invite, when we accept the invitation to pray with Jesus for an hour, we're not praying alone. We actually are praying with him. It is us interceding with Christ before the throne of grace. And you'll never be closer to Jesus than when you kneel with him in prayer. It's a privilege to pray an hour.

Let me say that it's also necessary. You'll notice that the disciples were asleep, which is really a picture of the church today, asleep. But you'll notice in verse 41, the passage that I read, Jesus says, watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. It's necessary if we're going to keep ourselves from sin. Interestingly, Peter was asleep during this time and later on that evening, he denies three times that he ever knew Jesus. And so if Peter had stayed awake and maybe interceded with Christ, perhaps he would have passed that test. But Jesus said, watch and pray because temptation is ever with us. I don't need to tell you the stories of Christians who have fallen into serious temptation that they see really no easy way out of. It happens all the time.

And Jesus says, watch and pray lest it happen to you. This past week, I was talking to a man who was a very successful businessman. And a number of years ago, about 13 or 14 years ago, because of a medical procedure, he was totally debilitated in a stroke. Today, he is but a shell of his former self. He can't walk unless you help him.

He basically has to sit hour by hour, year after year. And I said to him, have you ever been able to come to terms with what happened to you? And he said, I thank God every day for what happened to me. And then he surprised me by saying this, because if this had not happened, he'd have said, I'd have had both the money and the time to pursue the sins of my youth.

Ouch. He was saying, and I know that it was difficult for him to accept it when it first happened many years ago, but what he was saying is it was worth it because this debilitation kept me from pursuing sins that would have led me away from God. And I thought to myself, I wonder if the medical procedure that went wrong was an answer to the prayer of some mother who said, please keep my son from being led into gross sin. Temptation is ever with us. Falling into sin is ever a possibility. Jesus says, watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.

We think of wayward children and we think of those who are addicted and we know the great need for intercessory prayer. So one reason is because it's a privilege. Second is because it's necessary.

And third, it's because it's a passing opportunity. Verse 43, Jesus comes to them the third time. By the way, they did fall asleep three times. I read this passage again yesterday a couple of times just to make sure I was getting it right. Three times, at least the third time Jesus comes to them and it says in verse 44, he found them sleeping in verse 43. He went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then verse 45, he comes to the disciples.

Now it is the third time. Sleep and take your rest later on, because the man who's betraying me is here. In other words, it's too late now.

I asked you to pray with me when I was in my agony to watch with me, to intercede with me. But you slept through the experience and now Judas is on his way. Let's get up and let's go. It's a passing opportunity. You will never pass this way again. No way to somehow make up for the mistakes of yesterday and the wasted time of last week.

You're passing through once. Opportunities come and go. So I need to ask you a question. In ten years from now, will you have wished that you had taken out one hour a week to pray and to be with Jesus?

I think so. I think ten years from now, if you live that long, you'll say, oh, I wished I had done it. Well, there's only one way to fulfill that wish, and that is to do it and to begin today, begin next week.

First question to ask, why should we do it? Next question, when should we pray? Jesus was here in great agony, but when you look at his whole life, he was filled with constant prayer. Jesus prayed when things were going well. The Bible says that they marveled at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth, and he spoke so warmly and so beautifully, it says that the multitudes followed him. But the text says he himself would slip away often to pray.

Things are going well, he prayed. When the public opinion turned against him and he began to be rejected, and when they tried to push him off the brow of a hill as they did in Nazareth, what do we read? It says that Jesus would go onto a mountain and spend the whole night in prayer as the Son of God. Now, of course, I don't know that we could do that. We wouldn't have the physical strength, and that's not what my challenge before you is.

My challenge is one hour, one out of 168 hours a week. Jesus prayed when things were going well, when things were going poorly, when he was rejected, he prayed under pressure. Very interesting story in Mark chapter 1. Jesus is there, he heals some people, and the next morning a huge crowd comes looking for him, and nobody can find him, and the disciples find him praying, and they say to him, everybody's looking for you. You know, I look at that passage and I just can hardly read it, because if there's anything that a preacher likes, it's a crowd. If I were praying and somebody nudged me and said everybody's there waiting for you to preach, I'd say set up the microphone equipment because I'll be there. But interestingly, the Bible says that Jesus said, I have other places to go, and he departed, and he left the crowd unsatisfied and disappointed.

He had an agenda. But notice he was praying. When did Jesus pray? He prayed without ceasing. You see, many of us think to ourselves that we're too busy to pray.

That, of course, is not true at all. Are you going to watch at least one hour of television a week? Many of us watch a lot more than that.

It's not a matter of saying that you don't have the time. We're getting to the real matter now as we come to the third question, and the third question is what are the struggles that we're going to encounter when we pray? Why is there so much resistance? Why is it that when we begin to do it, it seems as if every demon in hell begins to show his face?

Well, you can begin to understand that, don't you? What are the struggles that we're going to experience when we pray? What is going to be in opposition to you if you say, yes, by God's grace today, one hour a week in addition to my regular devotional time? This is just one special hour a week in addition to what I'm doing. What are some of the struggles that you're going to have? Well, number one, a place to pray.

If you live in a very busy home, perhaps a small home, you might find it difficult. That's why your prayer time may be early in the morning or late at night. I believe it's very important. Jesus always went to Gethsemane. It says that whenever he went to Gethsemane, the disciples knew that it was there to pray. Jesus said it's time to pray. Gethsemane is the place.

I love that. And we love the Garden of Gethsemane today, don't we? If you've ever been to Israel because that's where Jesus prayed. Do you have a place of prayer? I have a place at home and I also have a place here at the church and I always say that that is my place of prayer. When I'm really serious and when I need some time to pray, that's where I go. Do you have a place to pray?

Now you always can't pray there, obviously, because you may be traveling and because of schedules and so forth, but there should be a place to pray. But that's not going to be your biggest struggle. Your biggest struggle is going to be your motivation. The Spirit is willing.

Oh yes, we heard that message and we signed up. The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is so weak because there are all these other things to do. And furthermore, my day is falling apart and nothing's going right and today is not the time to do it.

Because as I'm saying, the opposition is going to be relentless all 52 weeks. I have in my hand something that was written by Sidlo Baxter. Now he was a Scottish pastor, a great preacher, and as I read about his struggle with prayer, I wonder if you can identify.

I mean, this is my story too, so I know I can. He says that he wanted to get up early in the morning to pray and to do so with some regularity, but he says just as the stars in their courses fought against Cicero, so the stars in their courses seemed set on smashing my well-made plans. He said I would begin and so forth, but then he says I won't take the time telling you all of the subtle subterfuges which Satan used to trip me up and trick me out of keeping my plans. And he says it isn't necessary because he says you know them all. Many times he says my time for prayer and Bible study were getting crowded out and he says I was getting used to it.

Are you used to it? And then he says he began excusing himself and his prayer life became a case of sinning and repenting. Every time I got down to pray I had to start weeping and ask God's forgiveness because of my prayerlessness.

Then all of it came to a crisis. At a certain time one morning I looked at my watch and according to my plan, for I was still persevering, I was to withdraw for an hour of prayer. I looked at my watch and it said time for prayer said, but I looked at my desk and there was a miniature mountain of correspondence and something within me said you ought to get those letters answered.

So as we say in Scotland I swithered. I vacillated prayer or letters, prayer or letters, yes no. And then a little voice began to speak into my inner conscience that said look here Sid, what's all this bother? You know very well what you should do.

The practical thing is to get those letters answered. You can't afford time for prayer this morning. And the voice said look here Sid, don't you think the Lord knows how busy you are? You're having conversions, the church is growing, God is pleased with you. Look Sid, you'd better face up to it. You're not one of those real spiritual ones.

He said I don't want to use extravagant phrases but if you had plunged a dagger into my bosom it couldn't have hurt me more. You're not one of those spiritual ones. He said I looked within and I found that there was a part of me that wanted to pray and there was a part of me that didn't want to pray. Anybody here identifying or am I all alone up here this morning?

I'm not alone? All right. He said the part of me that did want to pray was the intellect and the will.

The part that didn't was my emotions. Suddenly I found myself asking Sid LoBaxter are you going to let your will be dragged around by your changeful emotions? So I said to Will, Will are you ready for prayer? Will said here I am. So I set off to pray and all of my emotions began to talk.

They said we're not coming, we're not coming, we're not coming. So I said to Will, Will can you stick it out? He said yeah I can if you can. So Will and I dragged off those wretched emotions by the scruff of the neck and we went to prayer. If you had asked me did you have a good time? Did you have a good time? He said of course not.

He said it wasn't a good time it was exhausting. My friend this is Pastor Lutzer if our culture which is collapsing around us doesn't cause us to pray more, what will? We're living at a time when we have to be willing to spend time before the Father yielding worshipping and interceding.

And that's why the burden on my heart is that we pray more and actually that we spend less time always thinking about social media and all the things that are going on around us. But of course we cannot avoid the culture can we? The moment you get a job today you'll be asked whether or not you're comfortable with multiple pronouns, whether or not you're willing to stand with the LGBTQ community. Those are the kinds of questions that are being asked. The cancel culture, the issues regarding white supremacy, the triumph of the self, diversity, equity and inclusion.

Will we be guilty by living on stolen land? Well these are just a few of the pressure points that I mention in my brand new book entitled No Reason to Hide, Standing for Christ in a Collapsing Culture. It will enable you to interpret the culture but also each chapter ends with a hero who stood against the culture giving us an example inspiring us to be faithful even at great personal cost.

Remember my burden as a pastor is that we might be faithful no matter the consequences of our obedience. For a gift of any amount you can get the book No Reason to Hide and I want to thank you so much for helping us because together we're making a difference as you have frequently heard me say running to win is in 20 different countries in four different languages. Thanks for helping us.

Go to rtwoffer.com that's rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Running to win is not the ministry of one person. It's not the ministry of a church or an organization. It is your ministry. Thanks in advance for helping us for holding our hands as we pray together and as we trust God to encourage each other in faithfulness all the way to the finish line. For Jesus praying in the garden was very tough. Next time on Running to Win why making the commitment to pray one hour a week will always bring struggles like those Jesus faced in Gethsemane. Let's all covenant to set aside one hour a week for Jesus.

It's no secret that America is in crisis. Pastors book No Reason to Hide Standing for Christ in a Collapsing Culture will be sent as our gift to you when you give a gift of any amount to support Running to Win. Just call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337. Online go to rtwoffer.com that's rtwoffer.com or write to Running to Win Moody Church 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago Illinois 60614. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-26 19:07:27 / 2022-12-26 19:16:08 / 9

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