“And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”–Matthew 26:39–41
Three weeks after the “shot heard round the world” started the fighting of the Revolutionary War, American forces advanced on Fort Ticonderoga. The fort had proved vital during the French and Indian War, and the colonists knew that it contained many cannons which they desperately needed to face the much larger British forces. Despite the outbreak of war, when the Americans approached the fort early in the morning of May 9, 1775, there was only a single sentry on duty. He was so inattentive that the Americans took the fort without firing a single shot, winning a crucial victory early in the war.
The Christian life is an ongoing spiritual conflict, and we must be constantly on guard. The devil doesn’t take vacations. He is looking for opportunities to attack, and if we abandon our responsibilities and do not take them seriously, defeat will follow. Dr. John R. Rice said, “Prayer is a duty expressly commanded for every Christian, all the time, and about everybody and everything. Not to pray is a sin, the sin of disobedience to the plain and often repeated command of God! Lack of prayer is a sin. Doubtless all of our sins and mistakes and failures are prayer-sins, prayer mistakes, and prayer-failures.” We do not have the power on our own to defeat the enemy. We must have God’s help through prayer if are to have any hope of victory.