We might think we know ourselves, but Jesus really knows what is going on inside of us. We may wonder why we can't stop doing that one thing we promised we would stop. Whether that one thing is eating the wrong food, yelling at our husband, getting mad while driving; we have good intentions that don't work out. Jesus knows why.
You would think on the eve of Jesus’ big night—the night before He will do what has never been done: pay for the sins of the world—that Jesus would be thinking of His need for prayer support. That was not on Jesus’ mind at all. Rather, He was helping others know what to pray about. He had covered Himself with prayer—and it worked. At the same time, He was trying to get the others to know what to do.
I found it interesting to look at the way Luke’s gospel records what happened to the disciples during that prayer time in Gethsemane. We know what happened to Jesus. He entered that garden in a sorrow so encompassing it could lead to His death. Luke’s gospel tells us that He sweat drops of blood as He prayed. After prayer He got up ready to face the suffering that was His destiny.
What amazes me is that in the midst of His personal crisis He is concern for His disciples. He wants them to be prepared through prayer. He knows what is going on in their lives and He knows that prayer is the answer to their problems.
Luke 22:45-46 says, When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. Why are you sleeping? He asked them. Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. Prayer accomplished what it is designed to accomplish in Jesus. Jesus took His anxiety to God in prayer and was ministered to through His effort. He encouraged His disciples to pray for themselves and receive this same spiritual support that they were going to need. But they weren't praying.
Rather than follow Jesus’ instructions to pray, the disciples fell asleep. I've got to think that the disciples weren't trying to do the opposite of what Jesus asked them. He was their leader, He was the Messiah, and they had left everything to follow Him. I think they were just as bewildered by their own lack of prayer as Jesus. In fact, Scripture says that Jesus could clearly see why they weren't praying. He knew that they were exhausted from sorrow. He understood what was going on in their lives better than they.
This is why He asked them Why are you sleeping? You've been told to pray and yet you are sleeping. I know what is going on inside of you, do you? Perhaps Jesus asked them this question so they would ask themselves. He doesn't seem to need the answer, but He needs them to know the answer. They needed to understand why they weren't praying in order to free themselves to start praying.
Scripture doesn't tell us if they ever prayed that night. The next action we witness is running away. At some point they finally prayed and their prayers turned them into men of valor who would obey Jesus’ command and carry the gospel to the uttermost parts of the world, even at threat of their own lives.
Jesus knows what is going on in your life. He knows what is blocking you from following Him the way you want. Take the time to pray and listen to Him; He will show you too.