How do you prepare for important moments in life? Before my class reunion, I dieted, had my hair cut and high-lighted, and shopped for clothes. If I’m to give a speech or a talk, I’ll have practiced and prepared for weeks beforehand.
As a reminder, the dictionary defines “prepare.”
- to make ready beforehand for some purpose
- to put in a proper state of mind
- to work out the details of
Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
When I know something important is going to happen and I want it to end well, I prepare in advance. Then there are often happenings in life that catch me off-guard.
Before His crucifixion Jesus warned his disciples they would all leave Him. In response they all declared they would rather die with Him than run away.
Jesus led his band of followers to Gethsemane and told them to sit while He went to pray-to prepare for what He knew was coming. He told Peter, James and John, “Watch with me.” But when He returned, He found them sleeping. He told them “Watch and pray so you may not enter into temptation.”
Jesus went away again to pray. Later, when He returned they were asleep.
We all know what happened that night.( If you don’t, read Matthew 26.) The soldiers took Jesus. The disciples ran. Peter denied his Savior three times.
The men in the garden didn’t anticipate the horrors of what was coming. They’d been with Jesus and trusted He was capable of taking care of them. They loved Him and were confident they were ready for anything. They pledged to fight even to death. They didn’t know how those words would be tested.
They ran. They hid.
Their battle wasn’t lost when the soldiers arrived to take Jesus. It wasn’t lost when Peter lied about knowing Jesus. The battle was lost hours before when they didn’t know enough, didn’t care enough, were too tired to pray.
I am confident in my faith, but I don’t know what will happen this afternoon. I don’t know who might cross my path. Will it be someone who needs to know Jesus? Will it be someone who speaks against Jesus? Will I be alone and asked to defend my faith? Will a family member or friend disappoint me, triggering a flood of depression? I don’t know what will happen, but Jesus does.
- I’ll pray for courage to defend the faith, even when I doubt I’ll need it, because I’m always with believers.
- I’ll pray for words to lead someone to Christ during a chance encounter, instead of leaving it to someone else.
- I’ll pray to be prepared for whatever God calls me to and to whatever the world throws at me.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
Jimmy Carter said, “We should spend our lives as though Christ was coming this after noon.”
2 Peter 3:10
1 Thessalonians 5:2