Our final challenge this past week was founded on Matthew 26:36-45; Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane, before He went to the cross. This passage stuck out for me as a host this week, because it is one that calls Jesus disciples, all of us, to ‘watch and to pray’. What am I watching and praying for?
The disciples were tired, so tired that they couldn’t stay awake a few hours to pray with their good and faithful friend; a friend that had taken them on a journey towards salvation for the past three years. Jesus was waiting to be taken away, tortured, falsely accused and crucified and he needed His friends. He needed them to watch and to pray, both over Him and for Him as He was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” So He says, “Stay here and keep watch with me”, to three of his disciples that were especially close to Him: Peter, James and John.
Possibly, the reason these three couldn’t stay awake, was because they were unaware of what was about to happen. They didn’t get what Jesus was going through, or what He was about to face. Instead of being there, and watching over, and pray for their friend, they were distracted by there own weariness, unable to see past their own situations. They should have been watching, they should have been praying. Could they have changed the circumstances of Jesus’ life and ministry, particularly His death on a cross? Probably not, but they could have sat up all night with their friend, listened to His prayer and attended to His needs.
This is the kind of ministry that I believe CSM is all about: Being present, in the moment, and watching and praying about what Jesus is leading us to experience about Himself. Jesus is always about to do something in the lives of his people. As a host, it is my job to prepare teams to watch for Jesus and what He is about to do in their lives and in the lives of others; and challenge them to see things the way God sees them by bringing them to a point of prayer, to partner with Jesus work in the world.
But, what am I watching and praying for?
I am watching a praying for the same things, but in a more focused way. I can become tired, VERY tired, and be very distracted by the schedule and workings of my visiting team, that I’m not watching and praying for our hosting team. Hosting can be quite demanding at times, sometimes we can become overwhelmed and sorrowful.
I have a great team here in Toronto, who is especially close to me. Men and women, who love our Lord Jesus, and want to serve Him with deep passion and conviction. This past week, our hosting team has been able to meet for sharing and prayer after most of our days. I see this time as watching and praying for one another, for what God is doing in each of our lives and visiting teams. Jesus is about to act, and in many cases, is already acting and moving mountains. We get to be a part of these Jesus things! We get to stay up a little later, even though our eyes are heavy, have things to get ready for the morning, or have had a hard and challenging day, and be there for one another, watching and praying as we journey together.
My prayer is that these times together will continue, that we will be able to maintain this very special time of love, support and care for one another through the summer; that our eyes will not grow heavy, and that we will not fall asleep during our watch to pray. We are always alongside Jesus, being challenged to carry our crosses, waiting for Jesus to act, waiting for Him to reveal Himself to us and our visiting teams. We need to keep watch and pray for each other, that we will not fall away, but care and support each other in ministry. I am thankful for my team, I thoroughly enjoy watching and praying over and for them, and watching Jesus lead and transform them, and ever so grateful that they are watching and praying over me this summer. May Christ be glorified in Toronto!
-Adele, CSM Toronto Summer 2011 City Host