The Bible draws a strong connection between spiritual alertness, or watchfulness, and prayer.

(Col. 4:2; 1 Pet. 4:7) Not long after asking his followers to keep on the watch with him, Jesus said: “Keep on the watch and pray continually, that you may not enter into temptation.”

(Matt. 26:41) Did he mean to limit that counsel to the dire situation they were facing at the moment? No, his counsel is a principle we are to live by every day.

Jesus set a sterling example in prayer.

You may recall that he once spent an entire night praying to his Father.

Let us try to picture the scene. (Read Luke 6:12, 13.) It is springtime, likely near the fishing town of Capernaum, Jesus’ home base in the region.

As evening falls, Jesus goes up one of the mountains that overlook the Sea of Galilee.

As he views the darkening landscape, he perhaps sees the flickering of oil lamps down in Capernaum and other nearby villages.

When Jesus addresses Jehovah, though, he focuses intently on his prayer.

Minutes—then hours—pass.

He takes little note as the lights far below go out one by one or as the moon drifts across the sky or as the nocturnal animals forage in the brush.

His prayer likely dwells on the big decision that lies before him—that of choosing his 12 apostles.

We can imagine Jesus immersed in telling his Father all his thoughts and concerns about each disciple as he earnestly begs for guidance and wisdom.

What can we learn from Jesus’ example? That we must spend long hours in prayer? No, for he kindly acknowledged about his followers: “The spirit, of course, is eager, but the flesh is weak.”

(Matt. 26:41) Nevertheless, we can imitate Jesus.

For instance, do we consult our heavenly Father before making any decision that may affect us, our family, or our fellow believers spiritually? Do our prayers include concerns about our brothers and sisters in the faith? Do we pray from the heart rather than repeat a set form of expressions? Notice, too, that Jesus valued intimate, private talk with his Father.

In today’s busy, hectic world, it is all too easy to get so caught up in the rush of life that we forget what matters most. If we make ample time for in-depth, private prayer, we will be more spiritually alert. (Matt. 6:6, 7) We will draw closer to Jehovah, eager to strengthen our relationship with him and avoid doing anything that might weaken it.

By: Pastor Raymond Doe