The words pray now or pay later popped into my head nearly five years ago. Looking back, I don’t remember if a Bible verse, lyrics of a song or a sermon conceived this concept. Nonetheless, this phrase inspired me to write a book which turned into a screen play. In a sense pray now or pay later is a mission statement to avoid subtle compromises that eventually leads individuals to give into temptation. This process doesn’t happen over night. Rather, carelessness, poor choices and self trust often results in painful consequences in the future.
After going a little farther, He fell to the ground [distressed by the weight of His spiritual burden] and began to pray that if it were possible [in the Father’s will], the hour [of suffering and death for the sins of mankind] might pass from Him. 36 He was saying, “Abba, Father! All things are possible for You; take this cup [of judgment] away from Me; but not what I will, but what You will,” Mark 14:35-36.
The night before his final day on earth in human form, Jesus felt compelled to pray. While in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus began to confide in his inner circle, James, John and Peter. Overwhelmed by the weight of a heavy soul, Jesus wrestled with God in prayer, wondering if there was another way. Yet, knowing his purpose for being born, Jesus yielded with the words, “not what I will but your will be done.” Jesus understood that praying now would give him the strength to submit to and fulfill God’s will, dying on a cross as the perfect Lamb of God.
And He came back and found them sleeping, and He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Were you unable to keep watch for one hour? 38 Keep [actively] watching and praying so that you do not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” 39 He went away again and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And again He came back and found them sleeping, because their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know how to answer Him. 41 He came back a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough [of that]! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Get up, let us go. Look, my betrayer is near!” – Mark 14:37-42
When the disciples were unable to stay awake the first time he asked them to pray, Jesus reveals the key to pray now or pay later. To avoid temptation, you must keep actively watching over your life in prayer. This reason for this necessity is that God’s Spirit within you is willing, but your body is weak, vulnerable to giving into temptation. Proactive prayer such as asking God to place a hedge of protection around you and your loved ones is a great place to start. However, when a sense of urgency to pray disappears, you might find yourself like the disciples falling away or betraying Jesus at the first sight of adversity. May this passage above and the words pray now or pay later awaken your soul to commit your life to a concert of prayer.
by Jay Mankus