Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:40-41
The greatest comeback in NFL history occurred on January 3, 1993, when backup quarterback Frank Reich led the Buffalo Bills to a 41-38 overtime victory over the Houston Oilers in an AFC wild-card playoff game. By halftime of the game, Houston was leading by 25 points. Things got worst for the Bills when Bubba McDowell intercepted a pass from Reich at the beginning of the third quarter and increased the lead by 32 points. But then came what has been called “The Comeback.” The Bills persevered and scored four consecutive touchdowns to send the game to overtime. They ended up winning the game by a field goal in overtime with a score of 41-38.
Most teams would probably have given up on the game. But the Bills kept on fighting. They demonstrated endurance and perseverance under pressure. Their refusal to surrender demonstrated a level of stamina that is vital for success in any area of life.
Most of us do not receive future blessings because we give up on our petition too soon. When our needs are great and the challenges are overwhelming, we should increase our prayer stamina. What is prayer stamina, you asked? It is praying with fervency and the strength of mind not to stop praying until you get your answer. Our prayer stamina helps us to stay on our knees until God moves on our behalf.
In today’s text, Jesus took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee (James and John) to Gethsemane to pray right before his arrest. But these men could not stay awake to pray for one hour. Instead, they kept on falling asleep not understanding the significance of the moment that was before them. Jesus rebuked the disciples three times for sleeping instead of praying. He urged them to increase their stamina for prayer.
What would it take to increase your stamina for prayer? Better yet, what is your appetite for prayer? An increase in our stamina for prayer will keep us in the presence of God and help us to walk in victory notwithstanding the trials we endure. A person with a strong appetite for prayer does not give up on God when the answer to their prayer is delayed.
The Buffalo Bills team in 1993, developed increased stamina for winning that game despite the score. They kept on playing until they turned a loss into a win. Our prayer stamina helps us to see things for what they should be in the spirit instead of what they are. That is called faith. Just as the Buffalo Bills team of 1993 kept on believing they could win the game we have to keep praying with the faith that God will answer our prayer no matter how long we should wait.
If only Peter spent more time praying than sleeping, he would not have denied Jesus three times. Peter denied Jesus because he was scared. He allowed his fear to overwhelm his faith. That’s what happens when we do not have an appetite for prayer. The believer who is fervent in prayer does not allow fear to rob them of their blessings.
Perhaps you need a “Comeback” like the Buffalo Bills team of 1993. If so, “Pray Until Something Happens (PUSH).” Even after you get your blessing, keep on praying so you will not be robbed of your blessing. In other words, pray continually so you can live victoriously in the name of Jesus.
Questions for Personal Reflection
What are the benefits of having strong prayer stamina?
What can you do to increase your prayer stamina?
Prayer- Most Holy God, I thank you for hearing and answering all my prayers. Please teach me to persist in prayer even when I do get my anticipated answer in my timeline. Help me to remain steadfast in prayer so I can increase my stamina for prayer and live victoriously through Christ Jesus.