Have you ever thought you could do a better job of keeping watch with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane than did Peter, James, and John? Tonight, you could have the chance. In today’s guest post, my friend Kimberly Texidor – who also happens to be an awesome Bible teacher and the Children’s Minister at my church – encourages and challenges us to “keep watch with Jesus” tonight.
Tonight, I’ll tuck the kids in bed. After one last sip of water, another kiss goodnight, and one final trip down the hall to tell us “just this one more thing,” there will finally be quiet.
As the sounds of a busy home come slowly to a stop, I’ll make my way to the den, all alone, to meet with Jesus.
This time in the dark of night feels like such a small, insignificant offering, really. Yet I am compelled by the verses about that evening, long ago, when the darkness fell upon sleepy disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane.
“Then he said to them, ‘My soul is sorrowful to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Matthew 26:38
But they failed to keep watch with Jesus. Even for one hour. So tonight, I’ll offer up to Jesus the only thing He asked of them. I’ll stay awhile, and keep watch with Him.
My heart breaks when I think of my Savior facing that night alone. Surely His disciples missed the gravity of what was coming, or they certainly would have roused themselves and sat with our Lord.
And as I think about His solitude in that garden, I am reminded to pray for all of those who are sitting up in their own Garden of Gethsemane tonight. I think of anxious hearts that feel all alone while the rest of the world is sleeping away.
I think of my own children, so loved, so prayed over, and my heart hurts for those whose names have never been lifted to God in prayer.
Tonight, as I reread the final earthly prayer of Jesus, my soul needs to keep watch, as if to give to Him this small gesture of love.
What if, tonight, we spent some time alone with the Savior, interceding in the dark, and keeping watch with the one who constantly intercedes before the Father on our behalf?
As you “keep watch with Jesus tonight,” start by reading Mark 14:32-42. Now read John 17 and use the following prayer prompts to pray as Jesus prayed:
- Confession-Pray that we won’t fall into temptation. As believers, our souls may be willing, but our flesh is surely weak. Pray that Christ will keep us close to Himself, when the temptations of fear, busyness, sin, rote religion, and worldliness threaten to pull us away (Mark 14:36).
- Worship-Pray that God will be glorified and Christ will be exalted this Easter in our hearts and homes, in our nation, and in His church (John 17:1-2).
- Salvation-Intercede on behalf of those who need Jesus, praying specifically for those who are waiting to hear the Gospel for the very first time (John 17:3).
- Protection-Pray that God will protect those who bear His name from the attacks of the Enemy. In particular, pray for those brave men and women who are even today risking their lives in hard and dangerous places so that others may know Christ (John 17:15).
- Holiness-Pray that God will make us Holy, and that we will commit to live out His truths in both word and action (John 17:17).
- Unity-Pray for unity in the church. Pray for unity across denominational, political, and theological divides so that our radical love for one another will help the world see Jesus (John 17:20-23).
- Love-Pray that God’s love may be in us and poured out through us to a world in need (John 17:25-26).
I don’t want to be in such a hurry to get to the Garden Tomb on Sunday that I miss the Garden of Gethsemane tonight. So, in this quiet space, in the darkness, I will meet Jesus. I will pray to the One who now stands, victorious, over death, and the cross and the grave, the One who intercedes continually before the altar of God on our behalf. I will meet Him in the darkness, and remember the Savior who prayed alone so long ago, and prayed for me.
Will you keep watch with Jesus tonight? We would love for you to share your thoughts with us!
Kimberly Texidor is the Children’s Pastor at The Woodlands First in The Woodlands, TX. After studying Spanish Education in college, Kimberly went on to study Missions at Southwestern Seminary. Currently, she’s completing a Masters of Divinity at BH Carroll Theological Institute. Kimberly is married to Manuel, a teacher and counselor, and they have three children.