"Meanderings in Mark"
Series on Mark, Lesson 51

How To Spend An Hour In Prayer

Read: Mark 14:26-51

Text: (Mark 14:37 KJV) And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?

Theme: By planning your prayer life, you can more easily spend quality time in prayer.


Introduction:

QUESTION - Are there any that jump out at you? What do you find worthy of discussion in what we have read today?

(1 Cor 11:23 KJV) For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when He had given thanks…"

QUOTE (The College Press NIV Commentary) - "According to later rabbinic materials the singing at the conclusion of the Passover would have been from the Hallel Psalms (Pss 114-118)."

QUESTION - What examples of weakness amongst Christ's followers are to be found in this chapter? Can we make application to our lives?

QUOTE (The College Press NIV Commentary) - "Chapter 14 repeatedly underscores the failures of the Twelve. Judas arranges to betray Jesus (vv. 10-11), Jesus predicts the betrayal (vv. 18-21), Jesus predicts the flight of the others and in particular Peter's denial (vv. 27-31), the three cannot remain awake (vv. 37-38, 40-41), Judas betrays Jesus (vv. 43-45), the others flee (vv. 50-52), and Peter fulfills the prophecy of his denials (vv. 66-72). On the last two days before his death, Jesus' teachings on discipleship in Mark 8-10 seem to have fallen on deaf ears."

QUESTION - Does Peter's attitude show up in our own hearts and lives? What do we learn from both Peter and Christ about this?

QUESTION - Do you agree or disagree with the following quote? Why?

QUOTE (The College Press NIV Commentary) - (in His prayer at Gethsemane) "Jesus expressed his intense desire not to have to endure the suffering he knew awaited him in the immediate future."

QUESTION - Do you agree or disagree with the following quote? Why?

QUOTE (Warren Weirsbe, Be Diligent) - "Our Lord's struggle in the Garden can be understood only in the light of what would happen to Him on the cross: He would be made sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21) and bear the curse of the Law (Gal. 3:13). It was not the physical suffering that almost overwhelmed Him with "anguish and sorrow," but the contemplation of being forsaken by His Father (Mark 15:34)."

QUESTION - Ivor Powell has an interesting suggestion. What do you think of this?

QUOTE (Ivor Powell, Mark's Superb Gospel) - "What was this cup to which the Lord referred? It was unthinkable that He should be seeking a way to avoid the death of the cross. It was for that specific cause He came into the world, and Hebrews 12:1–2 makes it perfectly clear that when He contemplated going to the Cross, He did so with great joy. He never shirked His responsibilities; He never tried to avoid what He had helped plan in the earliest of all ages. Therefore the cup could not have meant the cross. "Hebrews 5:7 makes an important contribution to our consideration. 'Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was ABLE TO SAVE HIM FROM DEATH, and was heard in that He feared.' First, let it be clearly understood that Christ's prayer was answered. The cup did pass from Him. This is something we need to comprehend. The Lord never prayed any prayer but what it was answered; He always prayed in the will of God. This is the first thing we must remember. The Savior's petition was granted while a deadly fear gripped His soul. It was not the fear of death, but rather the fear that He might die too soon. Reconciliation was to be made through the blood of the Cross; there, the forces of evil would be put to flight. Even Satan believed this, and knowing the time was short, the hosts of evil attacked the Son of God. This was the greatest attempt ever made upon the Lord's life. The onslaught was so intense that blood began to ooze from the Savior's temples. When His life seemed to be in jeopardy, the thought occurred —'Am I to die within sight of my goal?' The cup was the experience of physical weakness, and the Lord's desperate cry for help was answered when the angel came to assist Him. The imparted strength enabled Jesus to vanquish the forces besieging His soul and to proceed calmly toward the realization of His greatest ambition."

(That means Judas Iscariot, but it also means Simon the Canaanite, Thaddaeus, James the son of Alphaesu, Thomas, Matthew, Bartholomew, Philip, Andrew, John, James, and even Peter forsook Him!)

QUESTION - If the disciples all fell asleep, who do you suppose witnessed the events concerning Jesus prayer, and wrote about them?

QUOTE (Ivor Powell, Mark's Superb Gospel) - " We are now obliged to consider a problem. The narrative we are to consider describes sleeping disciples. "…for their eyes were heavy." If they slept, then who saw what happened, and later described those events to the writers of the Gospels? There are four possibilities. (1) Did the disciples remain awake long enough to see some of the events taking place? They went to sleep at least on three occasions, but during intervals, did they see such vivid scenes that long afterward, they were still able to describe those unforgettable details? (2) If they slept almost continually, did one of the other disciples left outside, quietly enter the garden to discover what was taking place? Did he pass his slumbering brethren, and see the agony of the Lord? Did this unknown man later confess what he had done, and did he become the source of information for the most intimate moments in the experiences of Jesus? (3) If the disciples within the garden slept, and if there were no eavesdropper, then what happened that night must have been revealed by the Holy Spirit at a later date. (4) There is a fourth possibility and it concerns John Mark. This will be considered later in this commentary."

QUOTE - (Warren Weirsbe, Be Diligent) - "At this point, the disciples forsook Jesus and fled, and so did an unknown young man who came into the Garden and witnessed the arrest. Was this John Mark? We do not know, but since the Gospel of Mark is the only one of the four Gospels that records this event, the author could well have been writing about himself. If the Upper Room was in the home of John Mark, then perhaps Judas led the soldiers there first. John Mark may have hastily put on an outer garment and followed the mob to the Garden. The soldiers may have even tried to arrest him, so he fled."

(Mark 14:37 KJV) And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?


I. Prayer needs PURPOSE.

(i.e. You need a reason to approach the throne.)

ILLUS. Three ministers were talking about prayer in general and the appropriate and effective positions for prayer. As they were talking, a telephone repairman was working on the phone system in the background. One minister shared that he felt the key was in the hands. He always held his hands together and pointed them upward as a form of symbolic worship. The second suggested that real prayer was conducted on your knees. The third suggested that they both had it wrong—the only position worth its salt was to pray while stretched out flat on your face. By this time the phone man couldn't stay out of the conversation any longer. He interjected, "I found that the most powerful prayer I ever made was while I was dangling upside down by my heels from a power pole, suspended forty feet above the ground." (NOW THAT GUY HAD A REASON TO PRAY!)

ILLUS. When Edward Everett Hale was chaplain of the U.S. Senate, someone asked him, "Do you pray for the senators, Dr. Hale?" He replied, "No, I look at the senators and pray for the country." (NOW THERE'S A MAN WITH A REASON TO PRAY!)

QUESTION - OK… what are some reasons you can think of WHY you should pray?

A. Pray because God says to!

(1 Chr 16:11 KJV) Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.

(Jer 33:3 KJV) Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

(Mat 7:7 KJV) Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

(Mat 26:41 KJV) Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

(1 Th 5:17 KJV) Pray without ceasing.

1. Much hair splitting goes on today about what is a command and what is not.

ILLUS. Church attendance, tithing, Christian walk / separation / holiness.

2. Simply put, I believe IF GOD SAYS IT, YOU DO IT!

ILLUS. When my kids were little, I seldom said to them, "Thus I command you." However, they were pretty sure when I was issuing a commandment!

GOD SAYS WE SHOULD PRAY!

B. Pray because God promises results!

(Psa 91:15 KJV) He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

(Isa 65:24 KJV) And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

(Jer 33:3 KJV) Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

(Mat 7:7 KJV) Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

(John 15:7 KJV) If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

ILLUS. Three Indians—a Navajo, a Hopi and an Apache—were speaking about how powerful their prayers were. The Navajo said, "You know, we Navajos pray for healing, and the patients get well about half the time." The Hopi said, "Well, we Hopis pray for rain, and it happens about 70 percent of the time." Finally, the Apache spoke up: "Yes, but we Apaches have the sunrise prayer dance, and it works every time.

GOD SAYS WE SHOULD PRAY, AND HE WILL ANSWER - EVERY SINGLE TIME!

C. Pray because it gives you access to the most powerful force in the universe!

READ 1 Kings 18:30-38

(John 11:41 KJV) Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

QUOTE (Leonard Ravenhill ) - One might estimate the weight of the world, tell the size of the celestial city, count the stars of heaven, measure the speed of lightning, and tell the time of the rising and the setting of the sun—but you cannot estimate prayer-power. Prayer is as vast as God because He is behind it. Prayer is as mighty as God because He has committed Himself to answer it.

QUOTE (R. A. Torrey ) - Prayer is the key that unlocks all the storehouses of God's infinite grace and power. All that God is, and all that God has, is at the disposal of prayer.

II. Prayer needs PASSION.

(I.e. you need to pray from your heart.)

A. Human relationships need passion to succeed.

ILLUS. Star Trek episode where android (Data) tried to fall in love. Ridiculous!

ILLUS. I read of a study (there are studies for everything!) which demonstrated men live longer when they kiss their wives goodbye in the morning!

B. Great prayer comes from the heart.

ILLUS. Moses (heartbroken):

(Exo 32:31-32 KJV) And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.

ILLUS. David (heartfelt repentance):

(Psa 51:12 KJV) Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

ILLUS. Elijah (righteous rage):

(1 Ki 18:37 KJV) Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.

ILLUS. Jesus in Gethsemane:

(Mark 14:34 KJV) And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.

C. What has happened to the passion in Christianity?

ILLUS. One day a boy was watching a holy man praying on the banks of a river in India. When the holy man completed his prayer the boy went over and asked him, "Will you teach me to pray?" The holy man studied the boy's face carefully. Then he gripped the boy's head in his hands and plunged it forcefully into the water! The boy struggled frantically, trying to free himself in order to breathe. Finally, the holy man released his hold. When the boy was able to get his breath, he gasped, "What did you do that for?" The holy man said, "I just gave you your first lesson." "What do you mean?" asked the astonished boy. "Well," said the holy man, "when you long to pray as much as you longed to breathe when your head was underwater—only then will I be able to teach you to pray." Mark Link, Breakaway

QUESTION - Any thoughts on this? Why is Christianity so without passion today?

ANSWER? (Mat 24:12 KJV) And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

III. Prayer needs POWER.

QUESTION - How do we accomplish this? How does the believer learn to pray powerfully?

(i.e. You've got to be SAVED, and have the Holy Spirit helping you to pray.)

A. The Holy Spirit is our source of power in prayer.

(Zec 4:6 KJV) Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

(Rom 8:26 KJV) Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

B. The Holy Spirit is only available to the saved.

(Rom 8:8-9 KJV) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

QUESTION - Does God hear the prayer of the unsaved?

(Rom 3:23 KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

(Isa 59:2 KJV) But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

QUESTION - Is there ANY prayer of the unsaved that God will hear?

(Rom 10:13 KJV) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

C. And yet, often, the Holy Spirit, the very source of power in prayer for the saved, is ignored or abused BY the saved!

(Eph 4:30 KJV) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

(1 Th 5:19 KJV) Quench not the Spirit.

IV. Prayer needs PLANNING.

(I.e. you need a method in prayer.)

A. (A)doration

QUESTION - What are some reasons we have for expressing adoration toward our Lord?

1. Praise Him for WHO HE IS.

2. Praise Him for WHAT HE HAS DONE.

3. Do it in your own words.

ILLUS. I knew a lady once who wrote her own psalm and read it aloud in church. I have never forgotten the "personal-ness" of this.

4. Do it by reading the Psalms and other scriptures back to God.

(Psa 8:1 KJV) O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

(Psa 18:2 KJV) The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

5. Do it with hymns and other songs.

ILLUS. I have a good friend who bought a hymn book and reads it daily during his devotions. I have tried this practice, and it is a wonderful way to praise the Lord. Read Him a hymn! Sing Him a hymn!

SONG Praise God from whom all blessings flow…

SONG Praise the Lord! Ye Heavens Adore Him

"Praise the Lord! Ye heaven's adore Him
Praise Him angels in the height;
Sun and moon, rejoice before Him
Praise Him, all ye stars of light.
Praise the Lord! For He hath spoken
Worlds His mighty voice obeyed;
Laws which never can be broken
For their guidance He hath made.
Praise the Lord! For He is glorious
Never shall His promise fail;
God hath made His saints victorious
Sin and death shall not prevail.
Praise the God of our salvation!
Hosts on High, His power proclaim;
Heav'n and earth and all creation,
Laud and magnify His name!"

B. (C)onfession

QUESTION - How important is confession? What happens if we leave this step out?

(Psa 66:18 KJV) If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

(1 John 1:9 KJV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

(1 Cor 11:31 KJV) For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

QUOTE (C. S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer) - "It is no use to ask God with factitious earnestness for A when our whole mind is in reality filled with B. We must lay before him what is in us, not what ought to be in us."

C. (T)hanksgiving

(1 Th 5:18 KJV) In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

QUESTION - What do we have to be thankful for?

JOKE - One man told of a woman who had only two teeth, and she thanked God every day that they met!

SONG "Count your blessings, name them one by one!"

D. (S)upplication

QUOTE (John R. Rice) - "Prayer is our way of getting things from God."

(Mat 7:7 KJV) Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: (NOTE - In order to receive, you have to ASK. In order to find, you have to SEEK, and in order to enter, you have to KNOCK!)

(John 14:14 KJV) If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. (NOTE - In order to receive, you have to ASK.)

(James 4:2 KJV) Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. (NOTE - Problem is, WE DON'T ASK!)

ILLUS. I've been studying a little on investing in the stock market. There is an old saying about the stock market that says you should "Buy low and sell high." There is another old saying that says, "In order to buy low and sell high, you first have to buy low." SAME WITH PRAYER! In order to get answers to prayer you first have to ASK!

1. Ask for what you NEED.

2. Ask for what you WANT.

3. But whatever you do, ASK!


Conclusion:

(Mark 14:37 KJV) And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?


Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright © 1998 William E. Johnson.