While You Were Sleeping…

From virus to riots to government scandals, many may be questioning, “God, where are you?” But maybe the question is where we have been. I wonder, has the enemy been using what’s comfortable in our lives to lull our soul to sleep? Could we have made it easy for the enemy to advance against us by being preoccupied with our day-to-day lives and not paying attention to the evil increasing in our country?

Imagine how dangerous we could be to the enemy’s schemes if we were fully awake and continuously praying.

But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. Matthew 13:25 NIV (click to tweet)

I know we all love sleep and spend about a third of our life doing so. Maybe that’s why there’s a mattress store on seemingly every corner. By now I’m sure most people have seen  the”My Pillow” guy on TV. He emphatically promises the best sleep we’ve ever had in our life. I’m yawning just thinking about it. You too? But watch out…

…there is a time to sleep and a time to be awake.

Okay, that one’s not in Ecclesiastes, but listen to what is in 1 Thessalonians 5:6 NLT:

So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded.

And this one:

And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Romans 13:11-12

The enemy’s sleep.

In a recent blog I talked about keeping watch, but in order to keep watch, one needs to stay awake, or stay alert. But little by little, things have been happening in our world that maybe we haven’t noticed because we’ve been figuratively “sleeping.” As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” We can’t do anything about things we’re not aware of or paying attention to. Much deception could happen “while you were sleeping.”

This enemy, satan, is always watching. He never takes his eye off his prey. The Bible says he’s like a roaring lion prowling around seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Interestingly, lions hunt at night when their prey least expects them.

This is why Jesus told His disciples to watch and pray (which, by the way, was at night), so they would not fall into the temptation of the enemy. And what temptation did He find them falling into (Matthew 26:40-45)? Sleep – the sleep of comfort, complacency and carelessness. (And they didn’t even need a MyPillow!)

For example, Peter fell into the temptation to deny Jesus – three times. Perhaps if he had been praying when Jesus told him to…three times…

While Jesus was fervently praying, anguished to the point of sweating drops of blood (Luke 22:44), the disciples dismissed Jesus’ request for prayer, stuck their heads under their proverbial pillows, and took a nap.

Three naps, in fact.

Jesus found the disciples sleeping three times in a row (Matthew 26:40, 43 and 45). Have we been sleeping too? Have we been repeatedly hitting the snooze button on our #prayer clock? (click to tweet)

If we haven’t been paying enough attention, we couldn’t have been praying much about things that were happening. We don’t typically pray about what we don’t know is going on. Consider Lisa Bevere’s question in her book, Lioness Arising:

“What would happen if, like the lions, we were dangerous and fully awake?”

What will it take to fully wake us up?

Jesus woke Peter and said, “Could you not watch with Me even one hour?” (Matthew 26:40)

Did He have to wake us up too?

Had God been speaking but we’d been too distracted or weary to listen?

Before the events of this year began, had our busyness left little time to pray? Had we been too distracted to pay attention to how ramped sin has become in our nation? Had our preoccupation with the American Dream left us in a whirlwind that spun truth into blurriness?

Did God need to allow us to be uncomfortable in order to wake us up?

In order to be fully awake (or as they say, “woke”), and for the life of our nation and for all our good, we must make the time to be as informed as possible by prayerfully doing much research on what we hear.

We are in a battle, a spiritual battle. Our fight is not against people. It’s against the devil and his minions. (Read Ephesians 6:12-18). If we stay awake and keep watch, put our spiritual armor on, confess and repent, and fight in fervent prayer, God promises He will be with us. He will provide the wisdom we need to discern truth, calm our fears and provide the strength and peace we long for.

Furthermore, if we stay awake and alert, if we do pray and confess our sins and seek God with all our heart (Jeremiah 29:13), He promises to forgive us and heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14, 1 John 1:9, James 5:16).

If you lack strength and peace in any of life’s battles, they are found at the feet of Jesus. He calls us to #pray and promises to fill us with everything we need to get through.(Ps34:4, Is41:10, Jn14:27, Phil4:6) (click to tweet)

Lord, help us to be awake and alert. We ask for Your strength, wisdom and discernment.

Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. ~Luke 21:36 NIV

 

Please join my prayerdemic!

The Bible says the enemy is like a lion. Lions use teamwork to catch their prey. Likewise, we must use unity and teamwork to #pray together against the enemy’s team and their schemes against our country.(click to tweet) I will be posting weekly prayers on my blog in the coming weeks. Please be sure to sign up here to receive my blog so we can be sure to pray together when I post. These prayers will be short and based on scripture, much like the prayer in my recent “Keep Watch” blog. You can join me now in praying parts of that prayer together:

  Heavenly Father, we are concerned for all that’s going on in our country and our world. Because we don’t always know what’s true or false, we don’t know what to believe, and therefore what to pray. But we thank you that Your Holy Spirit intercedes for us as we look to You and Your help (Romans 8:26-27).

Who will rise up for us against wicked men; who will defend us against evildoers? We have no one but You, Lord (Psalm 94:16). You know all and see all, for nothing in all creation is hidden from Your sight and to You all will give an account (Hebrews 4:13). We pray for you to give us wisdom and discernment (Proverbs 2:6-8), as well as peace to calm our fears (John 14:27). We pray for you to give wisdom to our president and government leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-4) and guide them by Your righteousness and justice (Psalm 89:14). We pray for Truth to win over evil, and for those who may be plotting in the dark against us to be brought to light (Job 12:22). 

  Lord, our trust is in You and You only, for with You all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). You are our hope (Matthew 12:21). Give us help against the enemy, for man’s help is useless (Psalm 60:11).

   We pray for awakening. We pray for revival.

   In Jesus’ Mighty Name. Amen.

Read “Keep Watch” blog here.

 

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you were blessed and are committed to fervent prayer for our families, our country and our world. I would love to hear from you in the comments.

As we “stay alert,” we realize the need for more prayer – more fervent, committed, constant prayer. This is why I wrote the book, Pursuing Prayer – Being Effective in a Busy World. This book will help you better understand prayer, inspire you to want to pray more and help to make your prayers more effective. You can find out more here or here.

You can also receive my FREE download, “Ten Prayer Tips for Busy Days” here.

10 Comments

  1. Jeanne on July 15, 2020 at 2:33 am

    It’s so difficult to know what to believe these days. Our only hope is the Lord. Thank you for offering prayer when words during these questionable times are so hard to find.
    Pray, Pray, Pray
    JR



  2. Bonnie carl on July 15, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    What a wonderful way to be reminded of how imperative prayer is to Gods plan here on earth. Thank you Penny!!



  3. Lee Ann Mancini on July 15, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    Thank you, Penny, for your wise words! I loved this post!



  4. Penny Cooke on July 15, 2020 at 11:20 pm

    Thank you, Lee Ann! Been agonizing over this one for a while, but had to finally post it.
    Blessings!



  5. Penny Cooke on July 15, 2020 at 11:22 pm

    Yes, prayer is more important than I think many realize. Prayer truly changes things. Need a lot to change so we need a lot of prayer – and pray-ers! Thanks Bonnie.



  6. Penny Cooke on July 15, 2020 at 11:23 pm

    Thank you Jeanne. Yes, our only hope is the Lord! Let’s keep praying. Be blessed.



  7. Susan Getlik on July 19, 2020 at 2:10 am

    Great read Penny! I will be watching and praying with you and others as we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord! He IS OUR ONLY TRUE HOPE IN THIS AND IN EVERYTHING WE FACE! (Not yelling, but for emphasis).
    Thank you.



  8. Penny Cooke on July 20, 2020 at 2:42 am

    Thank you for watching and praying with me and others, Susan. We need as many as possible to fight in this spiritual war. Love you and Mike’s faithfulness. BLESS YOU! (emphasis 😉 )



  9. Jennifer Baringer on July 24, 2020 at 10:47 am

    This is a much needed reminder for me Penny! I certainly am guilty of hitting the snooze button in prayer and napping like Peter. I am looking forward to the prayers you are going to post. Thanks for your perseverance in reminding me of the importance and relevance of prayer.



  10. Penny Cooke on July 25, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    I think most of us are guilty of that one, Jennifer. But I’m praying many will pray with us!



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