Did the Disciples Stay Awake While Jesus Prayed at Gethsemane?

As Jesus Christ prepared for the ultimate sacrifice, He took His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane. He asked them to stay with Him and pray while He went ahead to pray alone.

But did the disciples stay awake while Jesus prayed at Gethsemane? Let’s take a closer look at what happened that night.

The Prayer at Gethsemane

After sharing the Last Supper with His disciples, Jesus led them to the Garden of Gethsemane. He asked Peter, James, and John to stay with Him while He went ahead to pray.

He told them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me” (Matthew 26:38, NIV).

Jesus then went a little further into the garden and fell on His face in prayer. He prayed fervently to God for strength and guidance in fulfilling His mission on earth.

The Disciples’ Struggle

Meanwhile, Peter, James, and John struggled to stay awake. They were tired from their journey and from the heavy meal they had just eaten. As they waited for Jesus to finish praying, they dozed off.

Jesus returned three times to check on them but found them sleeping each time (Matthew 26:40-43). He rebuked them saying, “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” (Matthew 26:40).

The Significance of Their Sleeping

The disciples’ struggle to stay awake that night symbolizes their human weakness and inability to comprehend what was about to happen. Despite hearing Jesus’ teachings about His impending death, they still did not fully grasp its significance.

Their sleeping also highlights our own human tendency towards spiritual lethargy when we face difficult situations in life. Like the disciples, we too can become complacent and lack the spiritual strength to watch and pray.

The Lessons We Can Learn

Jesus’ prayer at Gethsemane teaches us several valuable lessons. Firstly, it reminds us that prayer is crucial in times of trial and temptation. It was through prayer that Jesus found the strength to face His imminent death on the cross.

Secondly, it shows us that even those closest to Jesus can falter in their faith. The disciples were not immune to fear or temptation, but Jesus still loved them and forgave them.

Lastly, it encourages us to stay vigilant and watchful in our own lives. Just as Jesus urged His disciples to watch and pray, we too must be alert and prepared for whatever challenges life may bring.


In conclusion, did the disciples stay awake while Jesus prayed at Gethsemane? No, they did not.

But their struggle serves as a reminder of our own human weakness and the importance of relying on God’s strength through prayer. So let us learn from their example and strive to stay vigilant in our own lives, always watching and praying for God’s guidance and protection.