I sincerely pray that this email finds you in a healthy place in Christ. Starting today. My heart’s desire is that Christ, who is our Peace, our Shalom, in whom there is an absence of all things harmful, and in whom there is the presence of all things beneficial, will cause there to be nothing missing and nothing broken in your life.
I know that the challenges you face are real, as are the stressors that come with living in a fallen world, even when the grace of Christ is your portion. I want you to know I am praying for you today. I also want to talk to you today briefly about prayer—not just about praying, but also about being watchful, and why that is an inseparable part of prayer. This will be the first in a 4-part series I will post about watching and praying.
It’s a fitting topic because we are currently in the midst of the Lenten Season—the 40-day period that the church of Jesus Christ historically has set aside to watch and pray before Holy Week, in remembrance of Jesus’ deeply painful testing in the Garden of Gethsemane on the eve of His suffering and crucifixion.
At this time, it is healthy for us to become aware of this reality: our spirit is willing and our flesh is weak. It is the very reason we have to keep ourselves in a place of watchfulness and prayer, as Jesus admonished Peter, James, and John to do when he was agonizing in Gethsemane over what he was about to face:
He took Peter and … James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. … And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
– Matthew 26:37, 40-41
I have proven Jesus’ words in my own experience that my spirit is willing and my flesh is weak. It is the reason I need to watch and also to pray. Have you too ever willed to do something, only to find your follow-through was weak and didn’t give you the results you intended or desired? It isn’t enough for us to watch, and neither is it enough for us to only pray. Watching and praying have to become integrated into our very lives and be as natural to us as breathing.
Watching and praying are inseparable. Everything Jesus did came from a life of watching and praying.
As we move toward Holy Week, April 9-15, may we learn how to both watch and pray. I invite you to go to my website at MarkChironna.com and click on “Prayer Requests” to submit your prayer need. I will pray for you—and you can pray for me. Let’s be watchful and prayerful for one another! Together we can make a difference!
Dr. Mark J. Chironna