August 6

Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Mark 14:38

The hardest discipline of all for us is to persist into the unknown realm of prayer when our own flesh seems to drag us down like a swimmer enveloped in heavy winter clothes, or a marathon runner carrying heavy suitcases. Our flesh draws us back, producing heaviness. Nothing we face in life equips us for the challenge of persevering when our natural minds protest that nothing is being achieved. No schoolteacher, no military training, nothing can prepare us for the conflict that awaits us when we pray. The only power that can make us persevere is naked faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has commanded us to do this, and has invited us to partake of some of the deepest, most intimate thoughts of His heart. To enter in, we must simply persist in prayer. Jesus continually taught His disciples of the need to persist. The warning of this verse is also a promise. He warned the disciples that they must persist or else enter into temptation that could otherwise be avoided. The implied promise is that if we will go deeper with Christ in the school of prayer, there will be many temptations that we will avoid and of which we will never be aware. Let nothing hinder your flow of prayer – whether it is like wading through mud, or like flying on eagles’ wings – and the rewards will be immeasurable.