‘stay awake and pray’

How to interpret ‘stay awake’

November 19th 2011
Before he was arrested by men of the High Priests, Jesus took his disciples into the garden of Gethsemane. Night had already come, and he said to them, ‘Stay awake and pray that you may not come into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ ‘Stay awake and pray’: many Christians down through history have turned Jesus’ request to his disciples into a rule for everyday life. So the poor things have forced themselves to wake up in the middle of the night to recite prayers; they have exhausted themselves as they fought sleep and have ended by disrupting their body’s natural rhythms. This is not what Jesus was asking for. We have to sleep to allow the body to rest; on the physical plane it isn’t necessary to stay awake. ‘Stay awake’ is above all a precept concerning the spiritual plane. To stay awake is to link ourselves through thought with the One within us that never sleeps. This eternal Watcher is to be found between our two eyebrows; that is its home. It sees everything, records everything, understands everything. And only when we have succeeded in uniting with it will we correctly observe Jesus’ precept to ‘Stay awake’.