After finding them sleeping the first time, Jesus tells his closest three friends:
“Watch and pray that you may not enter temptation” (Matthew 26:41).
Pulling this out of context, it’s easy to conclude that prayer and alertness are the key to this issue.
And prayer certainly is.
Awareness, likewise, is valuable. But that’s not what Jesus was talking about.
The three were set to be a watch. To either stay awake and keep him company, or to watch for approaching visitors. Or both.
The point is, the work was active. Their job was to do it.
This is instructive for us today.
Prayer is vital–necessary–to resist temptation. But prayer in a vacuum isn’t enough. Jesus said, “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
The secret is that we begin to resist temptation when the two parts are in sync: when our prayers and our practices align. When we both pray and work.