Not that he didn't understand - we know he knew from Matt. 26:41, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”So then, why did Christ say to them, Why do you sleep?
One reason is to remind them of the need to be disciplined. Weak flesh requires a strong disciplined mind to rule it.But there is another reason - Prayer is hard work.
1. The mechanics of quietness, physical stillness, and yet having and yet keeping the mind engaged with the invisible Living God is tricky business.
Our fleshly minds see it as a waste of effort. Our fleshly bodies cry out - if we are not doing any work, why must we be at the ready?!
2. The spiritual aspect of prayer is also quite challenging. This is truly the point of greatest difficulty. We must honestly reveal our soul - the challenges, the griefs, the sin, all the contradiction of who we really are - to the Lord.
To say that - I must give an explanation. While it isn't anything hard to agree with God mentally about our condition - to state it in prayer - we have to hear our own mouth reveal things to our ears - shameful things, hard things, things which sometimes challenge what we say we believe about the God we say we love...this is what we struggle against.
So we must wrestle, as a mental exercise. What is our greatest ally in the fight?Humility.
Humility lets us reveal to an all-knowing God what he already knows but which we've been hiding from even our own selves. Humility helps us to give over the desire to ‘make sense’ of the challenges of who we are, and what we believe about our God.
Humility helps us to bear the burdens of our wickedness, because we see everything in the right perspective. We no longer see ourselves in the pride of our puny strength - deluding ourselves. Instead we are, because of Christ in Calvary, able to see a love for us greater than our own love for ourselves - and thereby rest.
Tears have been my food. (Psa. 42:3) And humility is the best ally in times of temptation - we are not as strong as we think we are, as Rich Mullins once said. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord. (James 4:7-10)
So when Christ admonishes the disciples to watch and pray that you enter not into temptation (Luke 22:40) it is an admonishment to humbly present yourself to the Lord (and to your ownself) and trust the omniscient Loving Lord of the universe. He knows our frame that we are nothing but dust (Psa. 103:14)
But I am out of time - I have a battle to fight. I need to prevail and make humility my friend.