Apathy: A Hindrance To Prayer

Matthew 26:36-46

Apathy is defined as “Want of feeling; an utter privation of passion, or insensibility to pain; applied either to the body or the mind.”

A synonym for apathy is indifference, and indifference is defined as “Unconcernedness; a state of the mind when it feels no anxiety or interest in what is presented to it.”

In our text we see men that were physically faithful in their personal and  ministry related daily lives, and yet without even knowing their advanced state of indifference, cannot watch and pray with the Lord Jesus Christ for just one hour.

This was of the up-most importance to Christ; this was a time of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual anguish; a time when the ultimate battle between good and evil, between light and darkness, between self-will and surrender is waged and won; a time when they should have been tuned in and willing to pray; and yet they just cannot seem to stay awake.

It is amazing how we can do what we want to do and we will find a way to do it no matter what is going on in our lives, no matter how we feel, no matter how tired we are. We find a way to do what we want to do.

We are living in the days of apathy – II Timothy 4:1-5

If you will notice in II Timothy 4:5, the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost is compelling young Timothy to “watch.” Was this not the request of Christ to his most faithful disciples?

The danger was that of temptation; in which temptation is spawned from the breeding grounds of apathy!

Matthew Henry said “There was an hour of temptation drawing on, and very near; the troubles of Christ were temptations to his followers to disbelieve and distrust him, to deny and desert him, and renounce all relation to him. [2.] There was danger of their entering into the temptation, as into a snare or trap; of their entering into a parley with it, or a good opinion of it, of their being influenced by it, and inclining to comply with it; which is the first step toward being overcome by it.”

Their state of apathy; of indifference was most dangerous ground and it always will be! This temptation would be a result of weakness found in every part of the individual…

I. The Weakness of the Body – In Matthew 26:41, Christ tells Peter that

the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

John Wesly’s Notes say “How gentle a rebuke was this, and how kind an apology! especially at a time when our Lord’s own mind was so weighed down with sorrow.”  Again Matthew Henry said “He kindly excused for them; The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. We do not read of one word they had to say for themselves (the sense of their own weakness stopped their mouth); but then he had a tender word to say on their behalf, for it is his office to be an Advocate; in this he sets us an example of the love which covers a multitude of sins. He considered their frame, and did not chide them, for he remembered that they were but flesh; and the flesh is weak, though the spirit be willing,”

In His plea for the comfort and fellowship of His disciples as He desired to gather with them before the Throne of Grace, He at the same time remembers the frailties of their flesh.

What a good a patient God we serve! Psalms 103:13-14

Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.  For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

II. The Weakness of the Soul – When we are talking about the complete person in his triune form, we understand that we are comprised of body, soul, and spirit. The body is the physical, the spirit is the spiritual, but the soul is the emotional. This is where we must not base our salvation, surrender, or service on our feelings; but rather on the Word of God.

Our emotions will fluctuate; our feelings will come and go; but God and His Word never change. Faithfulness and consistency is not based upon emotions: they are based on determination of heart.

David said I will in Psalms 9:1-2

I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.  (2)  I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.

Joshua said we will in Joshua 24:15

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Paul said I have in II Timothy 4:5-7

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.  (6)  For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  (7)  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

III. The Weakness of the Spirit – Apathy has the most devastating effects on our spirit. The Bible is very clear in – John 4:24

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Christ told Nicoedemus in – John 3:6

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Our new birth was a spiritual birth; our relationship with God is a spiritual relationship; and our fellowship is a spiritual fellowship. Apathy hinders our fellowship; therefore apathy hinders our prayer life.

We are admonished in Ephesians 5:14-18

Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.  (15)  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,  (16)  Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  (17)  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.  (18)  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;