I always fall asleep when I pray. Often I fall asleep physically. But I have yet to make it through a single prayer without falling asleep spiritually.
I have wondered about this. Why does my attention slip away from my Creator more readily than it does from, say, a game of pinochle? I think it is the significance. Prayer is the one moment in which all things matter: every encounter, every word. I cannot bear the knowledge that everything is significant. God’s awareness of my every thought feels oppressive, weighing down my eyelids and my soul.
But Gethsemane begins a new reality. Jesus bids me pray; I fall asleep; but he is a stone’s throw away – praying. He bears up under the crushing significance of each human life and all history. He struggles before God what we need to struggle before God and cannot; he prays what we need to pray and will not. His prayer bears up our prayer. Christians do not pray as only one person, but as two: one a child who is half-asleep, the other a Lord, persevering to a full and earnest: “Yes, Father.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me say, “Yes, Father.” Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Gary Blobaum, Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, in Sumter, SC.